Directed by: Seth Gordon
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario
Mostly this is my fault. I went into this film very excited. I wanted to see some ‘next level’ Baywatch. I was hoping they would step up their lifeguarding game and really solve some murders, fight drug dealers and create world peace. I was in no way expecting them to lower the standard and submit to raunchy comedy. I was not ready for them to not take themselves seriously at all. I was ready to dive into the wave head first yet this film just gently floated above it.
It begins pretty badass. Johnson sprints to save the life of a drowning man. He dives off a pier and in slow motion gracefully and full of masculinity swims towards the man. The action is hot right from the start and I’m even diggin’ the slow motion sequence. Johnson then comes out of the water with the man in his arms. As he walks towards us, still in slo-mo, with the look of a superhero on his face, a huge graphic – BAYWATCH – slams down behind him and four dolphins jump out of the water giving each other a high-belly in mid air. Wait…I’m now confused. Is this an action film or a kids comedy? To my dismay we learn they chose to go the full comedy route and away from the action-drama that the TV show was.
We meet Zac Efrons character and quickly learn he is a complete spoof of Ryan Lochte. A disgraced Olympic Gold medalists who is too arrogant for his own common sense. Efron sticks with this routine the entirety of the film. The character remains dumb and fuels the banter between he and Johnsons character. It isn’t until after many redemption chances given by the Baywatch crew that his character finally realizes he needs to devote his life to teamwork.
Johnson and Efron actually have great onscreen chemistry. Their dialogue and banter is well done and worthy of going forward in a “buddy-cop” style film. The best jokes of the whole movie are Johnsons continuous references to boy-bands as nicknames for Efron. The women of Baywatch are portrayed decently. Even though my wife snickered at the lack of size comparison for Kelly Rohrbachs slo-motion bikini vs Pam Andersons original portrayal of CJ Parker. Alexandra Daddario does a very solid job as new recruit Summer Quinn even though she goes brunette compared to Nicole Eggerts blonde.
The acting all around is solid. They all work well with what was given to them. I just couldn’t get on board with the direction the film chose. The plot is basic and predictable as this style of cheesy comedy film tends to be. Drugs are found on the beach. There’s a new billionaire buying up all the property in the area so they can hold a monopoly of where to distribute. Everyone tells Johnsons character he’s wrong about his assumptions and should give up the pursuit. In the end he is correct and tries to save the day. The worst character is the added comic relief. I didn’t understand why a goofball character was needed to be added to an already goofy film.
I came out of the theater pretty bummed out. A show I grew up loving as an action packed drama has been turned into a parody spoof of itself. I much rather would have loved to see a two hour episode of the original show, similar to what Entourage did, but with these new sexier faces.
3 out of 10
I was never a fan of the Baywatch TV show. I WAS a fan of hot women running in slow motion on the beach!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson takes the reigns as Mitch Buchannon, lead lifeguard of a small group of lifeguards charged with protecting the bay. Zac Efron plays Matt Brody, a down and out Olympic gold medalist who is forced on the team to fulfill his probation.
Both egos are almost too big for this beach and hilarious banter ensues as the team tries to solve the mystery of drugs and dead bodies washing up on their beach. The movie is action packed and has lots of shirtless Dwayne and Zac, an one dead mans genitals which sadly is it for nudity.
Also a couple cameos from Hasselhoff and Pam Anderson top off a cheesy, funny romp of a movie!