Syfy's 'Sharknado 3' Fails At Being Really Good Bad Television Syfy debuts the third installment in its disaster movie spoof franchise. But it isn't fun to watch — even ironically — and the film falls short, even as it inspires imitators on other channels.
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Syfy's 'Sharknado 3' Fails At Being Really Good Bad Television

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Syfy's 'Sharknado 3' Fails At Being Really Good Bad Television

Syfy's 'Sharknado 3' Fails At Being Really Good Bad Television

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Imagine a world where eccentric billionaire Mark Cuban is president of the United States. And imagine during his administration, tornadoes filled with man-eating sharks hit the eastern seaboard. All that happens tonight on Syfy's disaster movie parody, "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says this one is truly a disaster.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: What's the first sign that Syfy's latest "Sharknado" movie is a dead horse beaten into a fine paste? The fact that appearances from NBC's "Today" show crew talking about tornadoes filled with man-eating sharks doesn't really seem that unusual anymore.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SHARKNADO 3: OH HELL NO!")

MATT LAUER: (As himself) I'm Matt Lauer along with Savannah Guthrie, the "Today" show reporting live now. The Washington Monument, the White House, not far from where we are right now, both destroyed by the worst sharknado this country has seen since the first formation two years ago.

DEGGANS: Fans of Syfy's aggressively awful disaster flick knows this means one thing. Ian Ziering's aptly named hero, Fin Shepard, is back in the thick of it. In a country filled with science guys and brainiacs, he's the only one who can really predict the ways of the sharknado. At least, that's what he tells the nation's president, Mark Cuban.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SHARKNADO 3: OH HELL NO!")

IAN ZIERING: (As Fin Shepard) D.C. isn't safe.

MARK CUBAN: (As U.S. President) What?

ZIERING: (As Fin Shepard) I know how this is going to sound, but I can sense these storms now - the drop in temperature, the humidity, these crazy cloud formations. These sharks, they have a scent, and it's not a pretty one.

DEGGANS: Neither is the scent of this movie, which has the distinct aroma of a joke repeated way too often. Now, to be fair, it has all the stuff that made the first two "Sharknados" such absurd, so-bad-it's-fun-to-watch entertainment. There's the gobbledygook explanations for how sharks survive in a tornado.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SHARKNADO 3: OH HELL NO!")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As character) But sharknado sharks, they eat something that regular sharks don't, birds.

DEGGANS: And there's the stunt casting of B- and C-level celebrities like David Hasselhoff and Ann Coulter, who plays the vice president.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SHARKNADO 3: OH HELL NO!")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As character) What's your opinion of these shark storms, Madam Vice President?

ANN COULTER: (As U.S. Vice President) I feel for the sharks, but they're wrecking our schools, our hospitals, our roads.

DEGGANS: I won't say if she gets eaten by a shark or not. There's a fine line between movies that are so stupid they're fun to watch and movies that are just plain stupid. And "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" proves even the dumbest fun can be ruined if you just tell the same lame joke over and over and over again. That won't bother Syfy or its owner, NBC Universal. Last year, "Sharknado's" sequel became the channel's most-watched original movie ever. It drew nearly 4 million viewers and one billion Twitter impressions. And that's one reason other cable channels have tried making fun of themselves with their own parody movies.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEGGANS: For instance, Lifetime's aptly titled film "A Deadly Adoption" featured Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. The two comic actors played it mostly straight as a couple who take in a pregnant woman who turns out to be a murderous psycho. Here, Ferrell is telling police their guest may have kidnapped their child.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A DEADLY ADOPTION")

WILL FERRELL: (As Robert Benson) Have you issued some sort of alert? Are you putting up a roadblock?

KRISTEN WIIG: (As Sarah Benson) She's pregnant, and we're adopting her baby. We actually know very little about her. She seems very nice. I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding.

DEGGANS: Though it was kind of boring, "A Deadly Adoption" was the highest-rated original show on cable the night it aired. These kinds of movies, including "Sharknado 3," make sense for cable channels seeking more media coverage and a new audience. But in "Sharknado's" case, Syfy's crafted a new installment that's a pale echo of the earlier versions, leaving fans to wonder what was really so funny the first time around. I'm Eric Deggans.

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