Overall: 12/20 – B
Do you ever walk out of a theater completely bemused? Not really sure what it was you just watched? Something that’s not so horrible you can’t vow never to see it again, but it’s not exactly the height of cinema achievement? Baywatch. I have to admit I never watched the series. Though to be fair, I think I was still in preschool when it first debuted. So no, I can’t compare this current reincarnation with its over-the-top predecessor. Even now, I’m sitting here trying to think how to describe what I just saw. I wasn’t expecting to like it. It’s so far beyond my typical fair it’s not even funny. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the guys behind the ticket counter had no idea what to make of me with my nerd glasses and Star Wars t-shirt when I asked for a ticket to a beach-bod and sexiness type of movie. Okay, they were probably judging me. In fact, I was judging myself.
You don’t go to see this kind of a movie for a plot. Let’s face it. Beaches, sun, ocean, and of course, hot bodies. There are plenty. Surprisingly, however, that is not the only focus. In fact, half the fun of this movie is that the actors know exactly what/who they are portraying and poke fun at it the entire time. The ironic wise-cracks in the movie more than make up for the gratuitous dick jokes. This is not a movie you take seriously. However, it did attempt to have a plot, so kudos to them. An up-and-coming drug lord tries to carve a niche for herself in a bay protected by none other than the souped-up, muscle-bound/well-endowed, lifeguard team known as Baywatch. She never stood a chance. Led by their trusty Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon, the new trainees and the seasoned members must try and save the bay through slow-motion running, perpetually wet bodies, and winning smiles. Together they overcome irritating cops, corrupt officials, and of course the Drug Queen herself, Victoria Leeds.
In an odd twist of fate, this is a well acted movie. While the content of the script was about as deep as a dried up puddle, the lines were delivered flawlessly, and the entire cast worked together much like the team they were imitating on screen. Dwayne Johnson leads the pack, taking over the iconic role of Mitch Buchannon from David Hasselhoff with ease. He’s got the pecs, the winning smile, and a killer comedic flair that I have come to love from him. He has some of the best lines hands down and is the main part of why this movie inexplicably works. He is joined by Zac Efron, who plays Matt Brody, a disgraced olympic swimmer who has to overcome his own selfish ways for the good of the pack. Efron is maturing into a decent actor. He is in the niche for selfish, pretty boy looks, but he’s able to laugh at himself which only adds to his charm.
Three beach beauties were found in the forms of Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera. Unfortunately, a significant amount of time was given over to the budding bro-ship between Johnson and Efron, so the girls mainly serve as love-interests for the boys. They never get the chance to truly display their own excellent abilities. Jon Bass joins the team as well, as the stereotypical nerd who somehow displays enough stick-to-it-ness to impress their fearless leader. While most of the slapstick comedy comes at his expense, Bass takes it in stride and delivers his own well-timed zingers. Priyanka Chopra rounds out the cast as the villainous Victoria Leeds. She embraces her role as a drug kingpin and plays the exasperated villain well. Her part is not as large as it should have been, however, as she seems like a girl who has it all. I hope to see her more in the future.
The visuals. How do I even describe the visuals. There’s the stunning ocean views. The beach-ready bodies (minus poor Jon Bass). And honestly, not a whole lot else. There are some interesting visuals in terms of underwater work, but how much of that is real and how much is CGI is actually slightly difficult to say. This is a character driven movie so not a whole lot of emphasis on anything other than the people. The beaches are pretty, but that’s to be expected when filming in Florida.
What surprises me the most is that I can’t recall a single snippet of music. Usually, I leave a theater humming something catchy that’s gotten stuck in my brain. Unfortunately, the music in this either disappears entirely in the background or is the predictable pop music that is easy to tune out. The disappointing thing is that after looking up the composer, Christopher Lennertz, I recognize his credits, if not his style. For that reason alone, I give the music a two.
Overall, it’s a cheesy, on occasion raunchy, remake of a cult classic. The comedy in it is surprisingly good, due to the delivery and overall awesome cast, but there’s little else to distinguish it.
Adults: If you were a fan of Hasselhoff, then go for it. You might be pleasantly surprised. I certainly never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. But this is one that will be just as fun to watch on Netflix without the hefty price tag of a movie ticket.
Children: Um. No. This is rated R. For a reason. The cursing alone should have you covering your ears.