Several times during Jersey Shore Shark Attack, I had to keep swatting at the back of my head to reassure myself that no one was pressing a gun against my skull, forcing me to watch. Such is the case when I volunteer for a film so recognizably non-essential for Cinema Blend. Since I’d reviewed seasons one and three of Jersey Shore proper for this site, I seemed to be advantageous where enjoying this semi-spoof was concerned. And guess what? I lucked out. This is grade-B hilarity trapped inside of an abysmal F-bomb. I’m certain the writers were breathing at least 75% pure oxygen when they thought “Gym, tan, harpooning” was the perfect send-up line.
I stand before you (sitting at a computer) wholeheartedly blaspheming against everything that is cosmic about film by admitting I’ve allowed the douche-friendly cast and crew of JSSA to land largely on my good side. I previously had no idea it was a straight parody, in the loosest sense of the words. It made fun of the Jersey Shore cast while simultaneously existing as a really shitty shark attack movie, in the usual Syfy style. I can only hope the Real Housewives will be battling piranhas at some point in the future.
If there is any single person still left reading this, I commend you. Hey, I didn’t want to believe that the laughter escaping my face was genuine either. This is a movie where a guy gets attacked by a shark, and his cap washes up on shore, bitten in three different places. Three places! As if a shark’s bite, or appetite, was small enough for a hat to enter into it. Maybe it’s because the sharks were all rendered in some of the shittiest CGI this side of the Jaws cut scenes from the original Nintendo system. Maybe CGI sharks have a smaller bite range. Then how are they leaping out of water and biting entire people in half? For that matter, how are they leaping out of water? And is that seriously Paul Sorvino? Yes.
Sorvino—who is onscreen long enough for you to get three good sneezes in--plays a mayor/shareholder for a company who wants to keep deep sea drilling (CGI drilling, no less) in a spot that is populated by vibration-sensitive sharks with a thirst for human blood. That’s a “situation” that calls for a hero to step in. Six heroes actually. (Make hero-zero joke here.)
Enter ‘the complication’ (Jeremy Luke), also called T.C. by everyone in voices that sound amazingly like Top Cat’s feline brethren. (If you can go the whole movie without calling Luke a “Guido Jimmy McNulty,” you are the better person here.) There’s the beef-brained Donnie (Joey Russo) and Paulie Balzac (Daniel Booko). Booko probably comes the closest to his TV influence, though mostly because of the immaculate head of hair. On the female side, we have the completely interchangeable trio of Nooki (Melissa Molinaro), J-Moni (Alex Mauriello) and BJ (Audi Resendez). (I don’t even understand how “BJ” is a character pun.) In case you were like me and thought this was a slasher film where one of these characters would get shark-chomped every few minutes, it isn’t. This gang of meatballs and cleavage is the film’s source of heroism. The bad guys are rich pricks, albino sharks, and drilling-friendly businessman William Atherton. But only Atherton has a swanky purple tie.
The basic story is that sharks attack the shore and eventually these goombahs and goombettes inexplicably bring out a bunch of guns and blast sharks in the fins until they die. Everything else is souped-up lingo liberally sprinkled through scenes that would have gained quality had nudity and cursing been allowed. That this material is largely PG-13 (although it is rated R), and isn’t drowning in alcohol and pheromones, does more to separate it from its MTV counterpart than the actual sharks involved, even with the occasional ejaculation joke. Examples of the mostly Italian lingo: gnocchi, preppy strunes, spuntini, pazzo, cugini, fazools. No Mario Bros. references, though there are unseen characters named Vinny No Neck and Vinny Bumbaza.
The sheer cult potential of a movie that includes the line, “The shark that killed Joey Fatone has been shot,” so soon after referring to Fatone as “a legend,” should intuitively be countered by Fatone’s actual presence within the movie. However, it’s a fun, self-deprecating cameo that ends in a fairly awesome death. Less fun is Vinny Guadagnino’s turn as a News Jersey reporter, which looks as if it was filmed after one of the filmmakers happened to catch Vinny out to dinner.
Since this movie is extremely useless without having watched even a single episode of Jersey Shore, I am almost impressed by Syfy’s willingness to exclude the viewers that would have avoided the movie based on its shark elements alone. There is nothing here for Shore-loathers or anyone else who doesn’t appreciate intentionally bad quality, as any plot-heavy scenes without the crew aren’t worth the trouble. But if you’ve got some friends over and a bong or a bottle of booze to share, then consider this a recommendation. No ugatz! I have no idea if I used that correctly.
Is it worth stating how useless Blu-ray technology is on a movie like this? Watching it on Syfy on a television from the 1970s is the way to go here. For features we get a commentary that tries to glorify everything seen on screen, and has volume problems where film dialogue is way too loud. It is occasionally interesting,to say the most. In the five-minute “On Set” feature, the cast talks about how hilarious the movie is. It also shows characters too boring to bother mentioning earlier. If you aren’t saying “Pound it. Explode it. Rain it down!” in fist bumping succession, then I cannot judge you negatively. That’s the B-side of my earlier recommendation.