Baywatch: Film Review
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Kelly Rohrbach, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass
Director: Seth Gordon
First CHIPS, now Baywatch.
The Hollywood drive to remake cult TV favourites that are more fondly remembered in the haze of nostalgia than for plots, acting and storylines depressingly continues to be a Hollywood trend.
After the utterly irredeemable CHIPS earlier this year, and with the success of the smartly funny 21 Jump Street seeming a long way in the past, Baywatch, with its boobs, bros, boners and beaches ethos tries to inject a bit of fun into the US Summer blockbuster season.
But it fails utterly and miserably, doling out a laugh-free film that drags in its 2 hour run time.
Whereas the TV series was purely a combination of cheesy guilty pleasure and slow-mo running / bouncing boobs, this update centres around a bro-comedy that's lacking in laughs.
Man mountain Dwayne Johnson stars as Mitch Buchannon, the head lifeguard of Baywatch. When he discovers drugs washing up on his shore, he suspects local property magnate (and not Bond villain yet) Victoria Leeds (Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra) is behind it.
With a new batch of recruits, including Zac Efron's disgraced selfish former Gold athlete Matt Brody, Mitch and the team try to save the Bay.
So far, so generic rip-off of 21 Jump Street.
But whereas 21 Jump Street had a meta-touch and some solid comedy scripting, all Baywatch has going for it is bronzed bodies and a barrage of insults fired at Brody from Johnson's alpha-bro.
Women exist either to be ogled at (step forward Rohrbach) or provide wide-eyed reaction shots (hello, Daddario) to the antics and squabbling of Brody and Buchannon.
Largely, Johnson's charisma and easy-going lighter touch has saved fare such as this in the past, but this time, with a muddled script that doesn't know if it's crime caper or comedy to negotiate, not even his mega-watt smile and muscled up physique can save the day.
Chopra chews the scenery as a villainess, but her blander character lacks the claws to take the guys on, though that's squarely the fault of the writers, rather than of Chopra's work.
It doesn't help that the obvious arc of the self-loathing pity-fest Brody (courtesy of a buffed-up to the max Efron) that manifests itself as a spoiled brat who secretly does want to be part of a team or Bass' tubby tech guy all feel incredibly familiar and underwritten, lending a feeling to Baywatch that it really has nothing to say for its audience - unless they're liquored up to the max.
There's no edginess in Baywatch and some lines feel mean-spirited rather than pushing the envelope.
Ultimately, when the cameos come, the film's got nothing to say or do with them.
And despite everything that Johnson throws at it, this Baywatch remake, quite frankly, deserves to be lost at sea. This version of Baywatch is the worst day out at the beach ever.