Review: Baywatch

6 10

PLOT: The Baywatch lifeguard team must deal with a jerk of a new recruit and a deadly socialite peddling drugs… oh yeah, and lots of gorgeous bodies in bathing suits.

REVIEW: The only time I caught an episode of the series Baywatch, there was very little enjoyment on my part. The episode involved one of the main characters - at least I think it was a main one - getting attacked by a shark. It was one of the worst “shark attack” sequences I’ve ever seen, and that includes the crappy Asylum flicks. Yet that is not what the show was really about. No, it was about hotties on the beach in sexy swimwear. So that is really where any excitement for BAYWATCH the movie will be for  many viewers. Even with a decent cast including Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Alxandria Daddario however, my expectations were quite low. If you just want to look at sexy ladies and dudes you can just go online or turn on the television. So what did this modern take of lifeguards in skimpy bathing suits saving beachgoers get right? Well, more than expected.

The plot of BAYWATCH the movie is pretty lame in general. Johnson plays Mitch Buchannon, the man in charge of his Baywatch lifeguard team. When it comes time to bring in a new group of pretty people, he reluctantly hires an ego driven jerk of a guy named Matt Brody (Efron). Once the new crew is chosen, Brody, Summer Quinn (Daddario) and Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass) join the rest of the gang to rule the beach. This includes stopping beach robbers, swimmers in need, and trying to stop a drug runner who has less than perfect plans to buy the surrounding community in hopes to build a massive operation - or something like that. Yeah, it’s pretty silly.

baywatch dwayne johnson zac efron alexandria daddario 2017 paramount comedy action 

Generally I prefer to start with the good, but let’s get a couple of complaints out of the way. As a legitimate fan of Efron, it is frustrating to see him continually playing the same lovable douchebag role. With this, NEIGHBORS, MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES and DIRTY GRANDPA, the actor seems to be running on autopilot. Sure he is fine in this type of comedy, but when it is all he does it becomes a bit frustrating. Hopefully he will once again show he has solid acting chops when he portrays Ted Bundy, but until then I have a feeling we will be seeing more of this. Still, once he settled down and wasn’t the annoying a-hole, Efron and Johnson were pretty good together. It just took a bit to fully embrace this arrogant jerk of a character.

When it comes to the humor, BAYWATCH is surprisingly serious. The film plays out closer to something like BEVERLY HILLS COP 2 - notice I said part 2 - as opposed to the more recent 22 JUMP STREET. Yes there is quite a bit of crude comedy, but the action is taken more seriously to an extent. You’ll find less pratfalls and silliness - although get ready for the usual dick jokes that are in abundance. Director Seth Gordon has had a few funny films including HORRIBLE BOSSES as well as the terrific documentary, THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS. And while BAYWATCH may have trouble balancing action and comedy, it occasionally manages to make it work. It may have been more successful had he gone further in either direction.

baywatch dwayne johnson zac efron alexandria daddario 2017 comedy action

It’s a safe bet that one of the most successful things about the series is also one of the things that the movie definitely gets right. There are lots of attractive people running around. The gorgeous Kelly Rohrbach is a delight every moment she is on-screen. You could say the same thing about Ms. Daddario and Ilfenesh Hadera. And yes, the ladies get a ton of shirtless Johnson and Efron. So you’ve got the eye candy, but you also have a surprisingly decent chemistry between them. I enjoyed watching nearly everybody involved. And when it comes to comic relief, Jon Bass was entertainingly goofy. After all, the gang needs a computer guy who can help move the plot forward.

While the humor isn’t necessarily as laugh-out-loud funny as it could have been, it did get slightly gruesome with a little bit of violent. Leave it to Johnson to kick some ass in a satisfying way. Of course, like Efron, he is basically playing the same role he tends to play. Yet for Johnson it mostly works. Ultimately the fun in the sun experience of BAYWATCH is a decent time at the movies. The screenplay written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift won’t win any awards, but they certainly are familiar enough with the source material to add a couple of enjoyable moments - even if the filmmakers could have tried to balance the laughs and violence a tad better. And yes, you can expect a couple of necessary cameos… I think you can probably figure out who might show up.

BAYWATCH is dumb fun. Sure maybe sometimes it is just plain dumb, but there is enough here for fans of hotties in swimsuits for sure. Johnson and Efron aren’t bad together, even if they are playing it safe. But the girls are probably the highlight. Daddario is delightful and funny, and both Hadera and especially Rohrbach appear to be enjoying themselves. If this flick manages to make money - and it’s likely that it will - perhaps we can get a sequel with less douchebaggary from Efron’s Brody, and maybe a little more focus on the story at hand, and we may have something worth checking out. Until then, we have BAYWATCH the movie, and it’s slightly better than you’d expect, a pleasant bit of fluff that should be entertaining with the right audience.

Source: JoBlo.com



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