Cutting the cheese since 1996

This gator has no bite

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I never really watched Ally McBeal or The Practice, so I can't claim to be a particular David E. Kelley fan. That's not so say I have anything against him, I'm just generally not a follower of his. However, the one exception is Lake Placid. It's best left to the viewer to decide whether it's a comedy or horror movie, but personally I look at it as a comedy. The apt characterizations and crisp dialog can best be summed up in one word: sarcastic.

(And who didn't think the alligator taking down a freaking grizzly bear wasn't the coolest thing ever?!)

So it was with some enthusiasm that I found out they ("they" being Sci-Fi Channel and not involving David E. Kelley) had made Lake Placid 2. Sure, none of the original actors returns, but from the end of the first movie we know there's more than one alligator!

I wanted to like this. I really did. I even knew going in how bad it was going to be because my brother had already watched it and told me how bad it was. Still, I had to see for myself, clinging to the false hope that it can't be that bad. It is.

I'm not sure what's worst: the writing, the action, or the special effects (which weren't that special). I'm guessing they were hoping to achieve that same level of sarcasm and witty banter from the first movie, but failed spectacularly. The dialog was so corny, it was a corn-poopy turd left floating on the water.

("There's a crocodile behind you!" Running away: "What was that thing?" "I don't know!")

And I expected better from John Schneider and Sam McMurry. But John spent the movie with a dopey grin (probably because he knew this whole thing was a floating corn-poopy turd) and Sam's accent was, well, crappy. The acting highlight was Cloris Leachman, but with the same drivel written for her character, what punch she might have delivered was reduced to a slap in the face. For what it's worth, Sarah Lafleur wasn't particularly bad, and she struck me as a working man's Jennifer Aniston. Stripping to her skivvies did work in her favor, however. Otherwise, most of the characters didn't seem particularly perturbed their compatriots were gator milkbones ("Let's get some dinner, and no talking about alligators"). Tellingly, the teen actors were so bad, I found myself rooting for the CGI gators to chow them down anyway.

Ah, yes, the CGI gators. I really can't call them just gators, because it was painfully obvious they were CGI. The animation on the whole wasn't entirely bad, but it seemed incomplete, like they needed a few more texture passes. But their integration with the environment was unspectacular at best. Footsteps in the stream didn't disturb the water, much less splash. People weren't so much in the gator's mouth's as under them. And don't get me started on that plane.

I'll only recommend this one if, like me, you have a perverse fascination to watch it even after someone tells you it's bad. And it is bad. Not even so-bad-it's-good bad, just bad. Bad bad bad. My rating: one chomp out of four.