Directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identify Thief), Baywatch is a movie based off the popular TV show of the same name. Baywatch was never a particularly good show, but it sure did give us a need for hot bodies in red onesies jogging along the beaches of L.A. county. Also starring, possibly, the sexiest cast of all time featuring names like Dwayne “The Rock/Future President” Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, Ilfenesh Hadera, and Priyanka Chopra. So here’s the story. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson), the well-oiled leader of the elite Baywatch lifeguard squad, clashes with new recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a disgraced Olympic swimmer brought in as the new face of the organization. However, when a dead body is recovered from a yacht fire, the two must put aside their personal differences and work with their team to stop a criminal mastermind’s drug trafficking operation. Here are my thoughts on the latest summer comedy.
THE GOOD: The movie is very much like the show; as in if you walk in expecting to take it seriously you’re already watching it wrong. The situations people need to be rescued from are just as ridiculous and far-fetched and the main plot here gets far more convoluted than the average day of any real lifeguard. The story starts out promising but it spins dives into a forgotten in place of a been there story. But hey who goes to a Baywatch for the story?
Where the script sucks, the cast knows how to make fun of itself. The Rock is the head honcho who takes the job very seriously. Zac Efron is the selfish, cool pretty boy new trainee who clashes with him. Both have a crazy amount of jokes for one another that work with varying degrees of success. Not only does The Rock and Efron have great on-screen chemistry, so does Efron and Daddario.
There’s a fat lifeguard and the movie takes the shots you would expect it to take but actor Jon Bass also does have some comedic talent here in the Josh Gadd sense of the word. Actually, he may even be funnier than Josh Gadd. The point is he works the best here from a comedic perspective.
THE BAD/DECENT: All would be forgiven if the jokes were good, but they’re few, flat, and far between. As a comedy, Baywatch never hits its stride and seems to lack a steady comedic theme (.it’s not particularly raunchy) offering up some weird and scattering punchlines. Most of the funny and good scenes happen in the trailers as well.
Baywatch is not all bad, and it does have its moments. It has some great music, and about a quarter of it is honestly terrific fun to watch — rich eye candy, hero shots, wild saves. But these all happen early on, and sadly the remainder is squished with uninteresting bickering whilst investigating around Scooby Doo-style in pursuit of who-really-cares. Even The Rock’s megapower charisma and the Efron / Daddario one-two-punch of perfect human trunks-in-trunks can’t save this comedy from becoming a great one.
SUPERSAM RATING: ★★★½