There are lots of wacky b-movies with the word "shark" in the title: Sharks in Venice; 2-Headed Shark Attack; Sand Sharks; Psycho Shark; Dino Shark... you name it, and sharks have either become it or attacked it. But this is the first time in the annals of super-chintzy Jaws knock-offs that a swarm of sharks has taken aim at (gasp) reality TV show "stars." No, this cheap and goofy SyFy Channel flick is not actually related to the Jersey Shore series, but it does take place in a very slight satire of said program, and despite a typical laundry list of obvious low-budget problems, Jersey Shore Shark Attack earns some points for self-aware goofiness, a few surprisingly funny moments, and the appearance of several lovely female Italian stereotypes: gorgeous gals who chew gum and tawk funny, but hey, I was raised in Philadelphia. I actually get the New Jersey hook, and it's sort of endearing here.
The plot is your painfully typical schpiel: a drilling operation has unleashed a pack of prehistoric albino sharks, and only a few good-natured Italian stereotypes can save the day. (Those looking for a cheap movie that takes cheap shots at Italians or New Jerseyans can look elsewhere. This is hardly a hilarious movie, but the humor is clearly and intentionally light and silly. A few moments did elicit legitimate chuckles from me, which was a nice surprise.) Anyway, a group of knuckleheads catch wind that these ravenous albino sharks are about to invade the lovely beaches of Seaside Heights, but in true b-movie form, none of the authority figures believe them. Eventually the bodies pile up, the Guido Gang are proved right, and then there's carnage afoot.
There's literally nothing in this flick you haven't seen before, better, and with a lot more quality control behind the camera. And yet ... of the more recent SyFy offerings, Jersey Shore Shark Attackis one of the more bemusing pieces of schlock they've floated our way. Aside from a few of the leads, the acting is pretty terrible across the board; the editorial style doesn't create a flow as much as it does a goofy series of isolated moments, and (of course) the special effects range from endearingly silly to downright terrible. Still, there's an amiable enthusiasm to the very basic proceedings whenever Jeremy Luc (as the heroic TC) or Melissa Molinaro (spoofing "Snooki," and rather well) are on hand to anchor the lunacy. Plus there's a great line delivery by young Joey Russo that had me giggling for five minutes. (The idiot tries to explain why a shark might enjoy a power bar!)
Of course, no 9th-generation Jaws knock-off would be complete without a few friendly faces on hand, and Jersey Shore Shark Attack has a few amusing moments from veteran role-players like Paul Sorvino (the devious mayor), William Atherton (a smug real estate developer), and Jack Scalia (a friendly bar owner). Plus, and this is somewhat historical, Jersey Shore Shark Attack makes Joey Fatone funny for a few fleeing minutes. His "big gag" might be lifted directly from a much more expensive shark movie, but it's still worth a few chuckles here.
If you're looking for suspense or terror, rent a different shark flick. Jersey Shore Shark Attack is played mostly for laughs, and while its over-reliance on other shark flicks starts to become a little tiresome by Act III, there was clearly a little cockeyed enthusiasm when this micro-budget monster movie was being cobbled together, and enough of that attitude seeps through into the final product. This is not a good movie, but it's a bad one with a small dose actual charm.