Spoofing Jersey Shore Is Really, Really Meta
Syfy’s Jersey Shore Shark Attack premiered on Saturday night. You may have missed it since you had weekend plans involving fun, booze or people. For shame, social butterflies. The movie was delightful. Here’s a recap of what you missed. All times are estimated.
00:01: Welcome to Seaside Heights on July 4th weekend! Drilling for an upscale resort has summoned sharks from far and wide. Believe it or not, they’re also stuck on Parkway traffic.
It gets better, folks. Bear with me.
00:02: Meet our first two victims. He’s got spiky hair and a receding hairline; she has earrings the size of Hula-Hoops. The guy meets his demise sporting an orgasm face, which makes me wonder what kind of “attack” the title refers to.
00:04: After that tragedy, we get a bouncy party song. Sample lyrics that I caught: “Show me what you got like a girl gone wild.” “Pedal to the metal and I can’t slow down.” Jaws started the same way.
00:06: Since this is a Jersey Shore parody, the movie spends a few minutes riffing the show. The lead character is called “The Complication,” a lovelorn young man with ripped abs and a ripped heart. The female lead is named “Nooki,” though unlike Snooki she doesn’t look like a fire hydrant slathered in bronzer. Though they verbally spar, the two tanned kids really dig each other. The crisis of crazed killer sharks bring them together. Moonlighting started the same way.
00:10: Complication and his guido buddies and Nooki and her guidette gal pals head over to the local boardwalk bar, which is holding a wet t-shirt concert. My in-laws are in the next room—I’m watching this on their DVR—summoning a rush of unpleasant, shameful memories from my teenage years.
00:13 This probably ranks as one of the few times I’m relieved that a wet t-shirt contest features girls wearing bikini tops underneath. Even better: One of the shirts gets thrown to a nerdy kid wearing a yarmulke.
00:17: Here come the preppies, whom we know from their emo haircuts and pastel-dominated wardrobe. Words are exchanged with the guidos, punches are thrown, carefully manicured hair is mussed.
00:21: One of Complication’s friends, J.P. (think Seth Green from Can’t Hardly Wait, yet somehow, more annoying), lands a couple of low blows. He gets chased by the two preppies, finding time to bust out a move on an arcade dance game. J.P. then dives into the water to escape, and the sharks feast on another Italian meal. Complication discovers his tattered hat. Something ain’t right, bro!
00:26: Professional handsome man Jack Scalia plays Complication’s father, a Seaside cop named Moretti who can’t see eye-to-eye with his son. I now know what Dermot Mulroney will be doing in 15 years.
00:28: Professional slimeball William Atherton (Real Genius, Die Hard) plays Dolan, the developer of the beach resort. He’s behind on the project, so he snaps at his workers to increase the drill speed to warp factor extreme or whatever the highest level is. All you need to know is that the vibrations bring more killer sharks.
00:31: Convinced that a shark is behind JP’s untimely (though welcome) demise, and with the cops calling off the search, Complication and his crew decide to take matters in their own hands, enthusiastically grabbing fireworks as their ammo.
00:34: The gang discovers the mangled body of one of the town’s countless Vinnies, which looks like a CPR dummy covered in Ragu. One of the awesome things about this movie is its adherence to cut-rate, cheesy special effects. When blood splatters, it’s like a shower going haywire in a bad sitcom. I am submitting to its charm.
00:36: To attract the sharks, one of the characters suggests luring them with protein, but “not that kind of protein.”
00:39: The kids steal a boat belonging to Dolan. A lit firework gets in the bag of fireworks, leading to an explosion that led me to wonder, “How many rolls of nickels did that special effect cost?”
00:42: Moretti is upset with the Complication: “This isn’t some bocce ball game!” The Complication is undeterred. The sharks exist, and they apparently have white skin and red eyes. “I want you to believe me!”
There’s emotional damage with bizarro shark attacks, people.
00:47: It’s a battle between the 99 percent and one percent. Moretti asks Dolan’s forgiveness for the destroyed boat. Moretti questions Dolan’s plan to elevate the boardwalk beyond “wet t-shirts and funnel cake.” Dolan calls it gentrification; Moretti deems it exploitation, the elimination of the town’s culture. It’s about eliminating the hoodlums and thieves, Dolan retorts. “Italians,” Morettie concludes.
Was I nuts, or was that actually a really good scene? Between William Atherton and Jack Scalia?
00:52: The Complication and his boys try to get the word out. The radio station won’t hear their pleas. Neither will the yacht club. But you know who may deliver the message? That’s right: Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync … fame. Is “fame” the right word here?
00:54: There’s no way this is a Joey Fatone concert. The crowd is way too enthusiastic.
00:55: In 2001, Joey Fatone co-starred with ‘N Sync bandmate Lance Bass in On the Line, a romantic comedy that saw a nationwide release. He was bigger than Justin Timberlake, who briefly appeared at the end of that atrocious romantic comedy.
In 2012, Timberlake is one of the biggest stars on the planet and is marrying one of the most desirable women on the planet
In 2012, Bass is best known for coming out of the closet.
In 2012, Joey Fatone appeared briefly in Jersey Shore Shark Attack where he was gobbled whole by a shark.
1:04: After a snoozy backstory on Seaside Heights’ terrifying shark history—and tons of commercials—the Complication punches out the lead preppy. The preppy’s response: “Oh, my face!”
1:07: It’s July 4th and the shark that killed Joey Fatone has been caught. “How do you know,” asks an incredulous reporter of the man making the statement.
“I’m a marine biologist,” says the expert, who proceeds to pull a microphone from the shark’s mouth.
1:10: Paul Sorvino’s work here as the corrupt, oblivious mayor is the best thing he’s done since Goodfellas. He seems focused, committed. Who knew that Martin Scorsese and Jack Scalia could get the best out of Sorvino?
1:25: Oh no! Nooki goes on the preppy’s stepfather’s yacht! What I like about this movie is how it succinctly divides the town into three demographics: goombas, preppies and concerned adults. The Jersey Shore census figures must take, like, five minutes to calculate.
1:30: Well, the sharks are running haywire, prompting the Complication and his crew to walk into the Seaside Heights PD and grab every weapon imaginable. How did they get in? Who cares?
1:35: The yacht is attacked, prompting Nooki to get her foot stuck in the crumbling vessel’s floorboard. My wife has wandered in. “Why can’t she just take off her shoe?” She should talk. Has she ever been surrounded by killer, red-eyed sharks? No one thinks straight in that kind of situation, woman.
1:45: The sharks are attacking the pier, leading to a Ferris wheel coming unhinged and literally rolling over Sorvino and Atherton’s characters. Does Prometheus have that? The Avengers?
1:55: The Complication saves Nooki (of course) and saves Moretti from the killer sharks. Tragedy brings everyone close together. It’s almost reminiscent of what this nation saw after September 11, 2001.
1:59: Which, of course, inspires a chant of “Guido, Guido.”