I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time. No, really; I have (that’s my life, folks). Now I’ll be perfectly honest here … I’ve never seen an episode of THE JERSEY SHORE. Seriously; I haven’t, but it feels as though I know everything about it. These Guido’s infested pop culture quicker than a Canadian having sex with a dead body (too soon? Sorry). The main cast members were all over all the TV and radio talk shows, doing guest spots in films, and The Situation even attempted to do stand up at the last Comedy Central Roast (with disastrous results). So it seemed inevitable that these jackholes would end up being parodied in either a SCARY MOVIE-like film or a TV flick. It looks like the SyFy channel beat everyone with JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK and combined our love of killer shark flicks and our hatred of those douchy JERSEY SHORE idiots. Seriously; why are they so popular? If you want to follow around a bunch of drunk schmucks partying, acting like idiots, and trying to hook up all the time, you could’ve followed me and my college buddies around. Where’s my fucking show?!!??
JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK, premiering this Saturday night, June 9th at 9pm ET/PT, stars a cast of lookalikes from the popular MTV show. We’ve got TC, “The Complication” (Jeremy Luc), the brains of the gang; Nooki (Melissa Molinaro), a way too cute girl to be parodying Snooki; Donnie (Joey Russo), TC’s weight-lifting meathead buddy; Pauli (Daniel Booko), who may not be Italian but who “respects the Guido lifestyle”; and BJ (Audi Resendez), Nooki’s girlfriend, and aptly named I’m sure. TC and his boys are Guido’s living down at Seaside Heights and are immature d-bags who really don’t take anything seriously. TC’s dad, Sheriff Moretti (Paul Scalia) is the law of the beach town and wants nothing more than his son to grow up and take on some responsibility. As the film opens we watch our gang of juiced-up cannoli eaters partying it up, getting into trouble, and just having fun. Then when a couple of preppy, rich kids, Bradford (Grant Harvey) and Spencer (Dylan Vox) from the nearby country club cause trouble and cause Joey (Ben Giroux) to jump into the water where he gets eaten by an albino bull shark, well the gang starts to man up and find a way to convince TC’s dad and the other locals that Joey was killed by a shark.
There’s also a plot about a land developer who bought up a lot of boardwalk property with the intentions of “prettying up the area.” Part of the plan is extending the boardwalk and building expensive condo’s, but to do this the developer, Dolan (William Atherton), needs to drill into the ocean floor. The constant vibrations attract the normally deep sea dwellers and once they arrive they decide to have Italian. Yes, it’s a very basic set up that we’ve seen a thousand times before, but the gimmick here is of course having JERSEY SHORE characters that look like and behave like the real life douchetards. There’s also a few nods to other more well-known sharks flicks. In one scene Jack Scalia tries to convince Mayor Palantine (Paul Sorvino … yes, that Paul Sorvino) to “close down the beaches.” Now where have we seen and heard that before? Hhmmm … And what’s up with Sorvino’s character’s name? It sounds like a goddamn STAR WARS character!!
You know exactly where this film is going and how it’s gonna get there, but I still had a lot of fun with it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in South Jersey and spent a lot of time in Seaside Heights. Yes, the actors here go overboard with their “Guido-ness,” but really not by much. I knew and saw people like that down at the shore and I had a fun time watching them get caricaturized. But I’ll tell ya; the Italian-American Alliance Group (I’m assuming there is one), isn’t gonna be happy with how Italians are portrayed in JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK. But on the positive side, this is a cast full of Italians, with Paul Sorvino nonetheless, and no one is in the mafia!! That’s gotta be a first. But I also take the good-natured ribbing not as a crack on all Italian-Americans, but on the world MTV created with JERSEY SHORE. From what I hear about it, it’s an abysmal show.
Of course nothing here is meant to be taken seriously. When you have Paulie shooting a machine gun at the sharks and he stops to make sure his hair still looks good, you know we’re in some goofy territory. But there’s some really funny dialogue scattered throughout. When the guys find a turned over little rowboat covered in blood, they figure it’s “Vinnie’s boat, but which Vinnie?” They then proceed to list all the various Vinnie’s they know (which is a lot). There’s Vinnie Bombatz, Vinnie Donuts, Vinnie Knuckles, Vinnie Crab, Vinnie No-Neck, … etc. It’s a pretty damn funny exchange.
The sharks themselves pose a big threat because they literally jump outta the water and snatch people off of boats, the sides of docks, and the boardwalk. That’s believable, right? Deep sea sharks would probably instinctively start jumping outta the water to eat Guido’s. I think. The gore is as expected: Lots of CG blood and missing body parts as well as CG sharks jumping around all over the place. But there are a few practical f/x here with gushing blood that was a nice treat.
The cast does a nice job and they look like they’re all having fun in their roles. We also get a level of character development that was completely unexpected as the guys go from being punks to saving the day. Director John Shepphird and writers Michael Ciminera, Richard Gnolfo, Jeffrey Schenck, and Peter Sullivan (yes; FOUR writers) keep everything moving along at a quick pace so you don’t have time to realize how silly everything is. But you should already know that … it’s called JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK, not SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK!! I had fun with this one, but the one area the writers really shit the bed was not having any of the main cast getting chewed up by the sharks. I watched this anticipating seeing the Snooki or ‘The Situation’ characters getting torn apart by sharks. This could have added a lot of fun to the film, but I think you’ll manage to have fun with this one anyway. Check it out!!
JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK premiers this Saturday, June 9th at 9pm, ET/PT on SyFy (did ya think it’d be airing on Masterpiece Theater??).
Director: John Shepphird
Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars (3 outta 5 if the cast got eaten)
Gore: 2.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer