Jersey Shore Shark Attack Kicks Off June Syfy Monster Marathon
· John Shepphird
· Jeremy Luke
· Jack Scalia
· Joey Russo
· Melisaa Molinaro
· Paul Sorvino
· Tony Sirico
Television Review: Jersey Shore Shark Attack
by Dennis Russo
Published: June 8, 2012
The premise of "Jersey Shore Shark Attack" is that, through bribery and payoffs, a construction company is illegally drilling off the Jersey shore in order to sink pylons for a new beach club and spa on the water. The thumping from the underwater drill draws hundreds of "rare" never before seen (mostly CGI generated) killer sharks to the Jersey shore to wreak havoc. While the sharks are feeding off of the locals, two different types of local Jersey-ans are at odds with each other: the "Guidos" and the rich preppies. It is through their constant bickering and fighting that the "Guidos" discover the sharks are the cause of the disappearance of several people they know. It's then up to the "Guidos" to convince the police, rescue their girls, the preppies, kill the sharks, stop the drilling and save the entire Jersey shore -- all on the fourth of July weekend.
Let me tell you, even though these CGI sharks are supposed to be scary (white-skinned with red eyes -oooooh!)they are not half as scary as the Guidos' acting!
I started watching this movie thinking it was going to be a regular sci-fi shark movie set off of the Jersey shore. A couple of minutes into the movie, I started thinking to myself "oh my gosh, what am I watching?" That's when it clicked and I put 2 and 2 together. I have never seen an episode of Jersey Shore so I never thought anything about it, but once my brain clicked and I recognized what I was looking at, I realized that this was going to be a parody (at least that's what I hope it was made to be) of the Jersey Shore and "Jaws" done ala "Scary Movie." This revelation changed my whole perspective on the movie and what I was going to expect from it. It is not easy to change gears on a dime, to go from expecting scares to expecting laughs, but I decided to be fair and give it a chance.
As I said, I have never seen an episode of the Jersey Shore, but I have heard enough about it to recognize parodies of several of the main characters such as "Nooki" (Melissa Molinaro) as a parody of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and "TC - The Complication" (Jeremy Luke) as a parody of Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. In fact, one of the actual actors from the show, Vinny Guadagnino, is in the movie and plays "Joe Conte" a (you guessed it) "Guido". I couldn't help myself but laugh when I heard the "knock-off" names of those to characters in this movie. I won't spoil it for you here.
The movie also has such famous Italian thespians as Paul Sorvino (Mayor Palantine) and Tony Sirico (Captain Salie) to give credibility I guess to the movie. (They must have needed a paycheck, or were paid so much they couldn't turn it down.) And what would a movie set in Jersey be without Joey Fatone!? All those heavy "Joisey" accents had me wondering if the "Guido" cast members were actually all from Jersey or if they were some of the best method actors I have ever seen. Having been born and raised in New York, I am well familiar with true Jersey accents, and I must say that these, although over-the-top, are dead on. No acting awards here, though; sadly that even goes for Paul and Tony (Oh "Paulie Walnuts", say it ain't so!) who had all-too-brief roles in the movie.
The overall feel of the movie, to me, what with the parodies of both Jersey Shore and "Jaws", the corny line delivery, the exaggerated acting, and some cheesy "Roger Corman"-esque special effects made me think I was watching the next installment of "Scary Movie" -- and that's not a bad thing to say, as I liked those movies.
As for those special effects, the CGI renditions of the sharks are not very good, and the attacks not very convincing. I don't know if they were intended to be that way as part of the style of the movie, but the cheesy cardboard fins we see swimming around the water actually work better. I guess I'm saying that there is a difference between "cheap" looking and "cheesy" looking, and here cheesy is better than cheap. It would have worked better if they used some sort of foam shark (like the assorted body parts found floating throughout the movie) than use the CGI here.
This movie is the first of four original films that the Syfy channel will be airing each Saturday in June. I don't know if the others are going to be as tongue-in-cheek as this one was (again, I hope it was made that way, I can't believe otherwise), but I can say at least for this one they succeeded in making a fun Saturday night movie. Even though the acting is over the top stereotypical of the "Guido" and "Preppies," there is a scene in this movie that really struck a chord with me. It concerned one of the "Guidos" acquaintances who became a shark dinner, "Vinny the Crab"(Nick Vallelonga). We learn his name when some of the "Guidos" are trying to tell their friends about him disappearing. They don't know which Vinny they are talking about so they start running through all the Vinnies they know. (They even use "Vinny Boom-bots"-- Rest in peace, Rodney Dangerfield.) Prior to him becoming lunch, Vinny is in his dingy fishing. He unknowingly hooks one of the sharks and is really struggling, trying to get this "fish" reeled in. He can't get his reel to work properly and in his frustration he utters "ah, your muddah's a**!" I don't know if that was an actual line written into the movie or the actor's improv, but growing up in an Italian household in New York, I can't begin to tell you how many times I heard my father, uncles, and brothers speak that very same line. What made it really strike a chord with me was that it was said with such timing and "air" of frustration and feeling, that I thought maybe I was related to him!
In some ways many scenes from this movie reminded me of some campy teen horror movies from the 50's and 60's, such as "The Blob" -- especially as the "Guidos" storm the police station, take semi-automatic rifles and hand guns from an unlocked cabinet, steal a boat, and set off to rescue Nooki and the rich Preppies before the sharks get them.
So did I like this movie? At the start I thought, "No way." The plot was weak, as was the acting. But as it played and I accepted it for what it was, I started to get a kick out of it. If you are familiar with Jersey Shore and enjoy that show, you'll probably even find more fun in this movie than I did. This movie turned out to be a campy, fun, low budget looking movie for a Saturday night. So if your suffering from that dreaded "Guido" disease "fundsalow", stay home, pop some popcorn and prepare to have your ears assaulted... not from the screams of pain and terror, but from all those "Joisey" accents!
One caveat: I would not let young children watch it, because some of the shark attack scenes, although to an adult eye are easily perceived as fake... well, with exagerated blood splattering scenes and body parts, some of the young-uns might get a bit freaked out.
Add a 1/2 grade if your a fan of the Jersey Shore.
"Jersey Shore Shark Attack" airs on Saturday night, June 9th at 9:00pm ET/PT on the Syfy channel.