“BAYWATCH” About As Much Ridiculousness As You’d Expect…
By Scott Kurland
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, and Jon Bass
Director: Seth Gordon
“Baywatch” was always an insane show. Lifeguards pretending to be cops, Lifeguards being reminded that they’re not cops, everyone running in slow motion. It was chaos masking itself as entertainment. Even so, it made the career of Pamela Anderson and reignited the world’s love for David Hasselhoff. This week’s film is indeed “Baywatch” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron. Let’s find out how crazy it is shall we?
“Baywatch” takes place in Emerald Bay, where lifeguard Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) rules the beach. Mitch treats his team less like lifeguards and more like a team of authorized crime fighters. However, the police don’t see them that way and constantly reminds them that their jurisdiction is limited to the beach. Mitch is also struggling with a new recruit named Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a former Olympian/pretty-boy who seeks to become a lifeguard as a publicity stunt. Mitch's efforts come to a grinding halt when he discovers that a powerful business woman named Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) is using the beach as a means to wash away evidence of her criminal enterprise. Now, he and the Baywatch crew must expose her nefarious plot. Can Brody learn to be a team player and help the Baywatch crew or will he become the liability Mitch believes him to be?
Let me start off by saying that, unlike most people, I didn’t have high or low expectations for this movie because, to put it simply: it’s fluff. This movie, like the show, is a guilty pleasure. And like the show, it’s only a guilty pleasure because we know it’s crap (entertaining crap, but crap nonetheless). I will say that I’m glad they didn’t try to do a “Miami Vice” and make this film a drama. The filmmakers knew it was a satire and went with it hardcore.
The plot is absurd, but that is because the show was absurd. Nevertheless, I did laugh quite a bit and that’s the job of a comedy. That alone is worth the price of admission. I will say that when the jokes fall on the raunchy side, they go for the gold (but they’re so funny). Dwayne Johnson is the perfect straight man whenever he’s in a comedy. That always works in his favor. Whether its “Baywatch” or “The Rundown,” Johnson sells the "stern-badass-with-a-heart-of-gold" character.
What I really liked about the film was the love story between Kelly Rohrbach as CJ Parker and Jon Bass as her unlikely romantic partner. You really believe the chemistry between them. Other than that, the film is pretty predictable. Efron, Johnson, and Chopra are fine. This film is not going to win any awards. It’s not meant to. It's just a fun movie that allows you to shut your brain off . “Baywatch” is recycled television turned into another routine movie. It’s silly, crude, and the perfect guilty pleasure of 2017. If you don’t want to pay full price, “Baywatch” is a perfect matinee movie or summer night rental.
REVIEW RATING: C+