The hit TV show comes to the big screen in one of the most confusing and disappointing adventures I’ve seen in a while. Mitch Buchanan is the devoted head of the Baywatch lifeguards, and his world is turned upside down by two things going on, the first is the introduction to the beach of an addictive drug, and the second is the introduction to the team by a hot-shot Olympic Gold medal winner. The drugs being pushed are all coming from the huge hotel complex that is next to the beach and Mitch will stop at nothing to prevent any more being spread around on his beach.
Honesty is the best policy here, I never watched the TV show, but I knew a lot of the women from the show. We won’t go too far down that road as my partner and family read these reviews and I’m not putting up with the slagging I’ll get from my knowledge of the ladies who wore the red swimsuits. But from what I gather it was all taken seriously by those in the TV show and it didn’t have Knightrider in it, which just lost me as a viewer right away, so what is wrong with the film?
The answer is that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be. It starts off almost as a spoof of the 90’s show, and if it had remained that way, we’d be talking about a 3 or 4 out of five, but it soon drops that feeling. Then we have the old versus the new lifeguards, that is Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, The Rock is a steadfast civil servant that takes his job seriously while High School Musical is just there because a Judge told him to be there. We then move on to almost a 90’s style action comedy and there the film just falls flat on its face. The villain is painfully a stereotype of female villains from the 80’s and 90’s, and you don’t actually care if they stop the spread of drugs.
I love Dwayne Johnson, his attitude is infectious and I’ll watch anything he’s attached to, also would vote for the Johnson/Hanks ticket in 2020. But his presence cannot save this turkey of a film. If they had picked spoof movie it would have blown any other comedy off the screen this year. Even the idea of a 90’s throwback to action films would have been amazing if they had committed fully to that idea. Zac Efron just plays the same character that he has played in nearly everything else I’ve seen him in since I’ve been reviewing, a good body alone, and that’s all he’s starting to be, is not enough to engage 50% of the audience. Pretty men and women wearing next to nothing doesn’t save a film these days, and lets remember that Baywatch was nearly cancelled until the numbers of viewers from outside America saved the show. Even dragging in two of the top stars of the show with cameos that were announced during the opening credits can’t save it. Actually it hurts it, they should have tried to keep that as a secret and then surprise the viewer.
What really bugged me, amongst the confusion, is that the film has probably the most terrible special effects that I’ve seen. Every fake background looks epically fake and sticks out like I do at a male model convention.
Baywatch could have been this summers exceptionally funny movie, but the commitment to one form of movie isn’t there, and it suffers because of that. I’d like to add this final thought, like I’m Jerry Springer for movies, a lot of films that The Rock is in get a lot of good will by the positive attitude and love we all have for Dwayne. It’s wearing thin though and fingers crossed that Jumanji brings us back with something more. As for Baywatch, lets just get in our boats and sail away, this is one film that no lifeguard can save!
Director: Seth Gordon
Writers: Michael Berk , Douglas Schwartz, Gregory J. Bonann, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra, Ilfenesh Hadera, Kelly Rohrbach