Baywatch - Review
In a world where everything is remade and rebooted - rebooting Baywatch was inevitable. But in a world where fantastic reboots like 21 Jump Street exists, there was no reason for this movie to be this lazy and unfunny.
Spoilers follow, but trust me the opening credits of the film spoils the only surprises that are in this movie.
Dwayne Johnson is in a lot of movies. The reason for that is because he has an irresistible charm to him and is a big walking charisma machine. America loves "The Rock" and he can inject the right amount of heart and charm into any failing franchise (the second GI: Joe movie was better because of him and just look what he did to the Fast and Furious franchise!) but not even the great Dwayne Johnson could save what the writers did to this movie.
They tried being like 21 Jump Street, but ended up being exactly what Jump Street was making fun of. The characters had no depth. They had little chemistry, and none of the relationships felt earned.
You'd expect a Baywatch movie - the franchise that gave fame to Pam Anderson - to be sexual; and to a certain extent something would be missing if it wasn't. But most of the characters were literal empty sexy walking shells. They were there for the easy jokes from Zac Efron and Jon Bass and that was it. They thought they were being clever by sexualizing the men too (they only ever showed male nudity.) Maybe in theory that might work but it was executed poorly and you just had a bunch of over-sexualized jokes in lieu of any real plot. Sexuality in any character - male or female is fine. But it should be a part of their character - just one attribute in a long line of many qualities that should endear you to a person. The movie literally stops cold so Alexandra Daddario could accuse Zac Efron of looking at her boobs. The scene goes on way too long, and then she bounces them up and down. If that is what you wanted to see, fine, no one is judging you, but that is what the internet is for. A real movie that is trying to tell a story deserves better.
There is a literal counter on the corner of the screen during the end credits that shows how many times the women have been reduced to sexual objects. I took that to mean that the Baywatch writers were aware of it and didn't care. Under more caring and sophisticated hands, this could have been a 21 Jump Street level movie, the cast they had was great. It was everything else around them that didn't work.
Priyanka Chopra is a Bollywood super star. She was in the ABC show Quantico but other than that most of her work was in India. She is an amazing actor and has the chops to have a successful career in Hollywood. I wish that she had more to use here. Her talent is wasted.
The film has two cameos (the two you would expect) from the Baywatch TV show. But they don't make sense and they are literally spoiled by being credited in the opening sequence. (Kudos to their agents for getting them near top billing for a total of maybe 2 minutes of screen time though!)
Okay, try to follow this one. Dwayne Johnson plays Mitch Buchannon, the role that Hasselhoff played in the TV show. But Hasselhoff also plays Mitch Buchannon, like the Flash created a parallel world or something. It was very strange. Same with Pamela Anderson. There was already a lifeguard named "CJ Parker" played by Kelly Rohrbach, then Pamela Anderson's CJ Parker comes in and gets introduced at the end. So there are now two CJ Parkers and two Mitch Buchannons. Huh?
Audiences demand more from movies and television now than they used to. That is why TV has gotten so good and "mid-budget" movies have virtually disappeared. Someone on Baywatch didn't get the memo. The thing that was most frustrating was that they used every decent joke in all of the previews, ads and TV spots. They didn't have much to choose from, but I don't remember even laughing a little bit at anything that wasn't in any of the previews.
Just because something is a light comedy that isn't to be taken seriously, doesn't mean that it can insult its audiences. The only people I can see liking this are pubescent teenage boys who sneaked in and get to see bikinis and explosions.
Now I know that the original Baywatch TV show wasn't a masterpiece. But it was fun - most of the characters had a few layers to them and they had some fun "cases" to solve. There was heart to what they did, it wasn't stale and while it was cheesy and ridiculous there was something redeeming worth watching. If this movie had even half of that fun cheesiness, it might have some redeeming qualities to it. But it doesn't and we are stuck with this mess that couldn't beat a flat, middling Pirates of the Caribbean chapter or a movie that has been out nearly a month already in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. at the box office.
If you want to see this movie (and I always recommend seeing it yourself to form an opinion, instead of forming it off of someone else's opinion) I suggest waiting for Netflix, Redbox or the dollar bin at Wal-Mart. Don't waste your hard earned money on the theater experience for this when there are much better things coming out soon that look like they deserve to be in theater. (Ask me if you want to know!)
Overall, this was a mess. Everything good was in the previews. Not even Dwayne Johnson, despite his solid, reliable performance, could save this shipwreck. Between this and Pirates 5 women do not come off very well at the movies this Memorial Day weekend and I am banking on Wonder Woman to fix that problem which comes out next week.
Baywatch is in theaters now.