"I don't pole-dance for nothing." That's what one of "Piranha 3D's" many frequently topless beauties says before climbing onto a rope that hovers four-feet above the surface of water teeming with frenzied prehistoric toothy fishes. It also expresses the irreverent tone for one of the most gleefully gory horror movies of all time. Director Alexandre Aja's update of Joe Dante's notorious 1978 film (written by John Sayles) packs in exposed boobies and dismembered bodies like a 50-gallon aquarium stuffed with maraschino cherries. The plot mirrors "Jaws" with an opening-scene watery death that presages torment for a Spring Break vacation hot spot. Lake Victoria, Arizona (a.k.a. Lake Havasu) is the partying ground for a slew of horny college students whose busty females can't get enough of sharing their boobs with every male in site. Jerry O'Connell is a "Girls-Gone-Wild"-inspired pornographer who entices Jake Forester (Steven McQueen), the son of the local sheriff (Elisabeth Shue), to work as a location scout for the day's filming of nude-beauty shenanigans. The film's centerpiece is a shallow-water attack by thousands of hungry piranhas on hundreds of unsuspecting revelers. Aja ("High Tension") ramps up the tension and gore to a fever pitch before sprinkling in a hearty dose of gross-out humor involving a severed penis. "Piranha 3D" is a tongue-in-cheek gore fest that's not for the faint-of-heart or for the easily-offended.
Rated R. 89 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)