Spring Break Shark Attack (2005) / Romance-Thriller
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG-13 for a scene of drug use, drinking, mild language and mild sexuality
Running Time: 90 min.
Cast: Shannon Lucio, Riley Smith, Justin Baldoni, Kathy Baker, Bryan Brown, Genevieve Howard, Bianca Lishansky, Wayne Thornley
Director: Paul Shapiro
Screenplay: James LaRosa
Review published July 27, 2005
You get everything you might expect in this CBS movie of the week, so I can't really say you'll be disappointed, since I doubt anyone expects a good movie here. However, for all of us gluttons for bad movie punishment, the unintentional hilarity of a movie this ineptly transparent offers much fodder for your campy side. Part college hedonism, part shark thriller, this is mindless entertainment meant strictly to entice you with nonstop bikini babes and shirtless hunks, mixed with a good amount (for television) of blood and guts action. In other words, the titillation button is pushed whenever possible and still be safe for a network airing.
Shannon Lucio (Starkweather, "The O.C.") stars as Danielle, who travels with her two thrill-seeking girlfriends to Seagull Beach in Florida for some nonstop partying during spring break. Seagull Beach is enjoying an upsurge in spring break activities thanks to some nice conditions caused by a reef growing in the area, and the local businesses are booming, including the boat rental company run by Mary (Kathy Baker) and her hunky son, Shane (Riley Smith, Radio). Danielle and Shane keep having run-ins with each other, and the attraction is mutual, but Danielle can't seem to shake the aggressive moves of the wanna-be "Girls Gone Wild" style guile of handsome creep, JT (Justin Baldoni, Yesterday's Dreams). Meanwhile, the college kids aren't the only ones attracted to the Florida hot spot, as deadly tiger sharks are looming dangerously close, and they are ravenous for whatever they can sink their teeth into.
Spring Break Shark Attack is cheesy fun in its own limited way, as we root wholeheartedly for every single member of this young cast to meet a grisly death by vicious shark attack. Much of the time, we get our wish, as there are more sharks in this film (mostly CGI and models) than in nearly any other film of its ilk. Longtime television director Paul Shapiro (What We Did That Night, Avalanche) delivers the motion-sickness inducing visuals with MTV style shaky camera and editing, while the laughably bad script by James LaRosa (Everybody's Doing It) is about as ludicrous as it gets in the credibility department, as it lifts cliché after cliché from nearly every shark flick in existence. In short, it's a gut-busting laugh-fest.
You've been warned -- don't expect anything remotely approaching a good film and perhaps you might find all of the hot bods and senseless carnage to be adequate escapism when you're in the mood for a sure-fire b-movie extravaganza. Substandard acting, superficial dialogue, cheeseball plot developments, even goofier romantic twists, and the dumbest excuse for what's behind all of the sinister shark attacks -- it's a film masochist's wet dream. Oh, the sweet agony!
©2005 Vince Leo