Last week I had the mid-week/end-of-summer lull from Hell. The weather was beyond miserable: four days of back-to-back torrential rain and howling wind. Having exhausted every avenue of the Internet and TV for entertainment, there was only one thing for it…catch up on all the latest cinema releases.
Naturally I opted for the latest foreign language, independent, art-house releases, Step Up 3D and Piranha 3D.
What? I was miserable! I wanted cheering up! So which is best (let’s just compare them to each other rather than actual films)? There’s only one way to find out…FIGHT!
|Step Up 3D||Piranha 3D|
|What masquerades as plot||New York dance troupe must win street-dance battle to save loft commune of unemployed thirty-somethings pretending to be teenagers.||Prehistoric fish eat people.|
|Cast||Kathy Najimy from Sister Act and Hocus Pocus has 1 line of dialogue. That girl from the Eminem video. A man with an amazing body and a girl with flicky hair.||Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue, him from Sliders,Ving Rhames and Vanessa from Gossip Girl. Oh, and Kelly Brook full frontal (MY PRECIOUS EYES).|
|Jump out of seat to clap moments.||The dance scenes are genuinely impressive. Hats off to the choreographer. There’s something quite old Hollywood about a street dance scene and the 3D works better than in some other attempts. I also liked a montage to the super Chromeo track Fancy Footwork.||A totally out-of-nowhere naked lesbian swim (if you like that sort of thing). A gruesome scene including a speed boat propeller. A floating male member (dismembered).|
|Ask for refund moments.||Every line of dialogue involving the word team. A ludicrous plot hole (how would you not know your best friend had a sister?)||A scene in which Christopher Lloyd is so spectacularly OTT, he chews more scenery than the piranhas. Richard Dreyfuss in dreary Jaws puns. How mighty have fallen etc.|
|Bare boob count||0||Lost count after 100.|
The verdict? You can only rate these films in terms of enjoyment value, neither are going to be winning any Oscars any time soon. What’s interesting is that despite the different age restrictions these films are both aimed squarely at teenagers (a good few piranha viewers were well below 18 in my screening). Based on that assumption, Hollywood producers must have decided that teenage girls want high-octane dance sequences and overcoming obstacles to love, while teenage boys want blood splattered boobs (and plenty of them).
If this is what teenagers want out of films, do they want the same from what they read? I don’t think I could write the cringe-worthy dialogue from either of the films above and sleep at night (sorry screenplay writers). I won’t be doing so in my books, my conscience won’t allow it. But is that what my target audience wants? If this is what sells, maybe I should sell out and write Glee style We’re all in this together scenes for girls and torture porn for boys. No. I’d rather credit the market with more intelligence; I hope, like the rest of us, the teenagers in the cinema were in on the joke. There’s nothing wrong with pure entertainment value films like Step Up and Piranha as part of a balanced film diet. They’re the equivalent of doughnuts; great as long as you have your five-a-day too.
Perhaps it’s an insider Hollywood bluff; maybe LA producers commission deliberately awful scripts! Intentional unintentional humour? Maybe in an glass office right now some poor writer is being asked to create a script that’s so bad it’s good! Dancers, Jim! Naked dancers being eaten by fish! Make it happen, Jim!
That’s both cynical and depressing, so I’ll move swiftly on. Look at it this way, both films were hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny. Whether that was intentional or not, they snapped me right out of my gloomy lull. Next stop, Burlesque!