Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 3, 2006)
If nothing else, one expects a movie called Spring Break Shark Attack to offer a guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, the final result might make you feel guilty, but it’s sure not a pleasure.
Originally aired on CBS in March 2005, Attack focuses on college student Danielle (Shannon Lucio). Her father over-shelters her; he insists she live at home and won’t allow her to visit with her friends in Florida for spring break. She goes anyway.
We also meet local Florida boy Shane (Riley Smith). He works at his mom’s (Kathy Baker) boat-renting shop as he attempts to save up money to go to college. Danielle and Shane meet up and romantic sparks slowly fly.
Some complications ensue when suave lothario JT (Justin Baldoni) puts the moves on Danielle. He sees his tenuous hold on her slip away as feelings deepen between Shane and Danielle, so he spikes her drink with “roofies” to give him a shot at date rape. The movie concerns itself with these relationship issues and some other soap opera intrigue.
Oh yeah – and it has sharks, too. Not enough of them for my liking, at least not until the final act, I suppose. We do see a shark attack right away, as the movie exhibits its first – and last – attempts at cleverness. Four sexy housewives – who tell us how “desperate” they were for a vacation – get chomped during a prologue. In case we’re too stupid to get the joke, a later shot of a local newspaper mentions the “desperate” search to find the missing women.
When I saw those sequences, I groaned, as I figured they indicated the goofy, campy approach Attack would take. However, as I saw the painfully earnest way in which much of the action proceeded, I yearned for the tart tone of those sequences. At least a sense of trashiness would give the film something to pique my interest, whereas the boring teen melodrama it pursues can barely keep me awake.
How could a movie called Spring Break Shark Attack be so damned dull? Any flick that prominently features a) killer fish and b) hot babes in bikinis should have to be entertaining. Unfortunately, the truth falls elsewhere, as this stinker never remotely manages to intrigue.
That’s really its greatest crime. I won’t bother to criticize all the piece’s shortcomings as a movie. It has many, many cinematic flaws. From poor acting, leaden dialogue, choppy editing and sloppy camerawork, basically every problem you can imagine manifests itself here. There’s barely a competent moment on display.
But that’d be okay if the stupid film was fun. At least something like Jaws: The Revenge entertains us as a howler. Attack can’t even give us that. Granted, the third act has potential, as the absurdities multiply and every shark on the planet descends on this one little beach. Hey, it’s tough to hate a flick that shows a windsurfer sail right into a shark’s mouth!
And yet I do hate Attack. The movie takes so ridiculously long to get to the mayhem that we simply don’t care when it arrives. The silly love triangle gets old quickly, especially since the flick telegraphs Our Hero and The Villain. We know JT is a jerk since he’s all muscular and swarthy. Heck, he doesn’t even have a name – just initials! Boo, hiss!
And it’s clear Shane is Our Heroine’s True Love since he cares for his mom and he has the innocuous, unthreatening and boyish looks that should land him on the cover of Tiger Beat. Why, JT actually drinks alcohol - he must be evil!
Most of the time, Attack feels like something you’d see on the Lifetime network. It’s a Very Special Movie that warns of the threat of date rape. Oh, and keep away from sharks, too.
Attack needed more bite, less trite. Are there any positives attached to this dreadful film? Well, the women involved are invariably gorgeous. Lucio is a true stunner; I’d watch her in anything as long as she wore a bikini. She even shows occasional glimmers of potential talent. Unfortunately, Attack buries these under its heavy covering of idiocy.