The main thing to say in regards to the Baywatch film is that it could have been so much worse. Truly. Of course, Hollywood presumably should’ve known not to attempt to refresh it, even in our present time of perpetual reboots, prequels, spin-offs, and revamps. Much like the current Power Rangers film, the fundamental issue is that the show that produced it had an appeal that seemed confined to its era, which was a peculiar blend of corny and camp, and in addition a carefree tone that both enabled the show to completely grasp each silly circumstance the cast wound up in, and escape with the… how about we simply put, visuals.
Saying this doesn’t imply that this Baywatch doesn’t have a couple of things going for it such as, the cast, who figure out how to score a few laughs while looking great in the required beach attire. The movie producers were clearly trusting that Dwayne Johnson would be sufficient to make up for the any faults in the foundation of this film, and their wagers halfway paid off. Johnson is in his element here, playing the sort of ripped, adorable weirdo whose interest and appeal are difficult, if not impossible, to resist. In the event that the motion picture had given him a more strong support to work from, Baywatch would’ve worked. Tsk-tsk, there are a few things that not even The Rock can pull off, not even with a supporting case of Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, and Hannibal Buress as reinforcement.
Director Seth Gordon (who did the same for Horrible Bosses and Identity Theft) made this motion picture more charming than we expected it to be, however its personality hampers things. Baywatch wants us to take it seriously while it ridicules its own absurdity, and gives watchers a mess of idiotic activity and eye candy while attempting to be a more meta experienced then the likes of the 21 Jump Street films. In any case, for any of these approaches to work, you need to completely focus on them, and Baywatch does not. It’s unusually unsure when it most frantically needs certainty, particularly with respect to its female cast. Every time the guys rant, they make sure to be sensitive to the women, and the movie actually tries to do a little social commentary through its female villain (Priyanka Chopra), of all things. But she’s so incompetent that it’s hard not to think her dad did the right thing by not making her top executive in the family business.
And yes, Baywatch sexualized every single woman onscreen, but it’s rather hard to complain when it also makes sure its male cast members are shirtless as much as possible. Good thing too, because you’ll need something to look at with a plot this dry. There’s a drug queenpin smuggling a dangerous new type of illegal drug in on the beach, and law enforcement are strangely missing from the mix, all the politicians are corrupt, blah, blah, blah. You get the drill. It hardly helps the rookie Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a disgraced Olympic athlete who’s new to the team, point out how absurd it is that lifeguards are taking it upon themselves to do the jobs of police officers.
But his skepticism barely resonates, because Dwayne Johnson is practically the man of steel, an extremely competent, insanely likable hero who saves lives on the regular, but unlike Superman, is so full of charisma he’s turned a bunch of lifeguards into a vigilante group who are willing to risk their lives and freedom at his command. It’s pretty much a cult.
It’s one of many ways Baywatch is unintentionally hilarious, but luckily it’s also mostly funny when it tries to be.