When dead bodies and drugs start to wash up on the beach, the team from Baywatch decide it is up to them to investigate the increase in crime around the bay. To top things off a new hot shot has joined the team and butts heads with everyone. That’s the plot to Baywatch an R Rated comedy that takes itself way to seriously as it attempts to knock off the Jump Street movies by bringing in big name actors, adult jokes and mocking the source material. Baywatch stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Priyanka Chopra, John Bass, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ilfenesh Hadera and Hannibal Buress
With the success of 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street it is no surprise that R Rated remakes of 80s and 90s TV series are happening, hence a Baywatch movie. Just because you follow in the foot steps of the Jump Street movies does not mean you need to try and copy those steps. Despite the high profile and talented cast that was exactly what Baywatch tried and failed to do. I will try and not compare this Baywatch to the Jump Street movies too much but I will use it to establish a context as to why Baywatch does not work. Jump Street mocks the idea of how dumb it is to send cops in as undercover teenagers in a high school, they make several jokes about how old both Tatum and Hill look. Even their Captain mocks the idea at the start of the movie. Baywatch on the other hand has everyone treating the Baywatch as some elite military force. Only the cop Ellerbee seemed to be aware of how dumb this concept was.
I think Zac Efron has great potential as an actor, growing from teen heartthrob in High School Musical to comedian in Bad Neighbours and even showing off some dramatic talent along the way. The problem is he is playing a combination of his character from Bad Neighbours and Channing Tatum in the Jump Street movies (yes I know I mentioned them again). He plays this arrogant self-centred guy who when he has a change of heart and joins Baywatch becomes an idiot. Some of his lines hit perfectly as the loveable idiot but most fell by the way side.
When it comes to jokes falling by the way side the character of Ronnie played by John Bass was more annoying than funny. They tried to make him the charming and loveable funny fat guy who wasn’t really funny or charming in fact most of the time he was a weird or creepy which apparently hot girls find attractive. Most of this character’s efforts were cringe worthy at best with a few small chuckles. We are introduced to Ronnie as he used his drone to perv on girls at the beach then get an awkward erection from Kelly Rohrbach’s character giving him first aid. He just wasn’t the likeable loser they hoped he would be.
Aside from John Bass’ character I was actually a massive fan of the cast given the material they have to work with. I think they all did a great job given how serious they had to be about something so ridiculous. The Rock brings his usual charismatic style to the film as the leader of Baywatch and works well with his colleagues. Most of these actors did not have to do much but look good in bikinis and board shorts so the fact that they were memorable is a huge plus for them. In fact it is the only plus of the movie. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was a stand out of the movie, most likely because he was the only one who demonstrates just how stupid this concept was. He plays Ellerbee, the police officer that has to investigate the crimes that Baywatch keep getting mixed up with.
In true Baywatch fashion the movie is not short on eye candy, with so many fit good-looking people it is ridiculous. Baywatch will make unfit people want to go to the gym to get a better body and make fit people want to go to the gym to also make their bodies better. The rigs on The Rock and Efron were clearly the stand out of the movie. Both men were in incredible shape for the filming of this movie. It is just a shame the writers and director did not put the same effort into their film as the cast did into their bodies.
I wouldn’t recommend Baywatch, but if you feel inclined to see then I suggest going opening weekend or to a packed screening, maybe the laughter in the group will become infectious. Go in without high expectations though.
I gave Baywatch a 3.5/10