Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shark Week: Spring Break Shark Attack (Paul Shapiro, 2005)

Okay, so this is a TV movie, not a theatrical release, but it is honestly the first thing I thought of when I came up with the idea of doing this feature. It is one of those movies in which the plot was clearly an afterthought to the awesome title, which by its very nature promises more than it can possibly deliver. Really, the only way for utter schlock like this to redeem itself is to be full of gore and nudity, but since this is a movie made for network TV (and for CBS, no less), we get none of that. Most of the shark attacks are represented by people being sucked under the water, followed by a geyser of fake-looking blood. Lots of girls wear bikinis, but MTV's spring break coverage is far more titillating (and features better dialogue). Even the dudes shooting for "Girls Unleashed" merely get girls to reveal...their bikini tops. 

There are a few wan attempts at humor, including an opening jab at Desperate Housewives, which I assume was on opposite this when it first premiered, but nothing connects. The camp factor is disappointingly low, and though the sharks look suitably fake, you barely ever get to see them. I will give credit to the one awesome shot in which some guy windsurfs right into the shark's mouth. Talk about your bad luck.

Shapiro and writer James LaRosa make the mistake of trying to get us to care about these profoundly vapid characters, and the first hour is almost all coma-inducing interpersonal drama. Star Shannon Lucio was actually rather appealing in her stint on The O.C., but no one could possibly sell this material seriously. Kathy Baker and Bryan Brown look dutifully embarrassed to be reduced to paycheck-cashing supporting roles, but Brown can't even give his evil-businessman villain any remotely hateful qualities. Somewhere in here is a halfway interesting metaphor equating predatory date rapists on spring break with sharks who smell blood; too bad no one's interested in exploring it. 

Bottom line: Too much spring break, not enough shark attack.


Indiana said...

Come on. I think you are looking at this the wrong way. It works because of the Spring Break angle, because by the end of the film, you are actively cheering for the people to be eaten.

You mentioned Shannon Lucio, and you alluded to the lack of nudity, but you then passed over the best aspect of Shannon Lucio after her stint on the OC, which was the bikini inspired "where did she hide those" revelation. As someone who watched this movie and the show, the difference was staggering. Just because the movie doesn't show naughty bits doesn't mean it's lacking in skin.

And then there is the guy from Cocktail who has been the cause of the increase in shark attacks, which ranks somewhere between historically stupid and depravedly sadistic plotting.

As a shark movie, it's bad, but as a bad movie with sharks in it, it's killer.

Josh said...

Well, I would say by the end of the movie I was less rooting for the people to get eaten and more just rooting for the movie to be over. Perhaps, however, I did pay insufficient attention to Shannon Lucio's chest.