Baywatch is an action comedy film based on the tv series of the same name, directed by Seth Gordon. Lifeguard Lt. Mitch Buchannon and his hand-picked team of lifeguards, patrol the beach and protect the Emerald Bay area. Their division is known as Baywatch. Along with having to deal with the new summer recruits, the team discovers that a new synthetic street drug is being passed around the bay. They must band together to get rid of the drugs and keep the beach goers safe.
When I heard this film was being made I thought it could go one of two ways. Make a crappy cash grab movie using the nostalgia of the old tv show or make a legit film that was self-aware in its ridiculous premise like 21 Jump Street. It had a glimmer of hope at the start of the film as Mitch (Johnson) saves a kite surfer from drowning. As he steps out of the water carrying the victim in dramatic fashion just as the Baywatch title rises from the ocean behind him. That made me laugh hard. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was meant to be a joke rather to show off how cool this movie would be. Mostly went downhill from there.
The script was bad that was riddled with many bad jokes and pointless scenes. The special effects weren’t all that special. The fire that takes place on a boat are some of the worst looking fire effects I’ve ever seen in a movie or show. The film took itself too serious and other times wanted to be a completely silly comedy.
The cast had good chemistry and performed well with what they had. Aside from Jon Bass. Total miscast as he failed to be convincing and was generally mediocre. The last time I saw him in something was The Newsroom where he played a douche. That should be his wheelhouse because not once did I find him an endearing nice guy. He just came off as a weirdo or pervert. Zac Efron is Zac Efron in everything recently. Dwayne Johnson’s humor is the best thing in the movie. His dead pan retorts are always solid. He is entertaining to watch in everything. The rest of group is underutilized about half way in. The screen time changes from being about the team to being about the 2 leads for a good chunk of the film. I enjoyed the first half before it went full on ridiculous with them having to deal with a drug kingpin.
I enjoyed watching the Baywatch tv series more in the 90s than this movie. They had a good enough premise of just lifeguards being too serious having to deal with daily beach problems and make that funny. Instead it felt like too many ideas were crammed together attempting to make a blockbuster comedy. If you like Dwayne Johnson, you will most likely watch Baywatch without a care. I found it hard to finish the second half of the movie, but I love me some Dwayne Johnson so there’s that.
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 1 hr 56 min
Director: Seth Gordon
Screenplay: Mark Swift and Damian Shannon
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach and Jon Bass
Producers: Ivan Reitman, Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, Gregory J. Bonann and Beau Flynn
Music: Christopher Lennertz
Cinematography: Eric Steelberg