There is no denying the global impact of the David Hasslehoff lead series Baywatch that dominated the world in the 1990s. The show about crime fighting lifeguards made Pamela Anderson a star and was a monster television hit any numerous countries catching the eyes of many young boys and their dads. What the show lacked in a script, polished acting and production; it made up for in slow motion jiggles and a ton of good looks. Whether people want to admit it or not, Baywatch is one the biggest TV shows of all time so it shouldn’t surprise anyone with Hollywood’s past rack record that Baywatch would receive the big screen treatment. The problem with the adaptation process for this particular series is there is absolutely zero-content to draw from in the original show it’s based on. The Baywatch mythos is basically boobs, butts and running on the beach even though the show tried so hard to take itself seriously in the beginning. Naturally in these situations, studios go the parody route turning these cheesy dramas into R rated comedies much like the popular 21 Jump Street franchise.
The problem with this new take on Baywatch is the film is more C.H.I.P.S. than Jump Street with a movie that tries so hard to be dirty, dumb and action packed that it ends up ruining the whole experience in the process. The film stars Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon, the legendary lifeguard of the bay who leads the team who consists of CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), new recruit Summer (Alexandra Daddario) and hot-shot disgraced Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron) who butts heads with Mitch. The gang get involved in a criminal conspiracy after a few deaths happen on the beach and a landowner by the name of Victoria Leads (Priyanka Chopra) is suspected as being the person behind the murder mystery. The plot is something right out of the original series which is not a good thing whatsoever. The story is so bland and generic that not even a massive amount of cleavage or six-pack of abs can save it.
The only thing worse than the plot in Baywatch is the comedy or the lack of depending how low you set the bar. This remake goes through long stretches that are devoid of anything resembling humor. Jokes about the crew only being lifeguards are beat into the ground over and over again. Johnson and Efron do their best to bring some charm to this comedy, but they too are saddled with lame boy band jokes that get real old quick. Jon Bass showed potential as Ronnie who is the anti-lifeguard character in Baywatch in terms of physique, but this regular guy character is wasted as well with gags involving injured private parts and played out erection gags. The ladies of Baywatch on the other hand look pretty, but also bring nothing to the party in terms of laughs making this project a collaborative unfunny effort.
Director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) delivers a film with a major identity crisis that can’t decide if it wants to be a serious action film or a raunchy odd couple comedy. The players in Baywatch are unlikable and the action scenes are something you would see in the old Baywatch series. Dwayne Johnson has shown he can carry bad material due to his electrifying charisma, but even he collapses under the weight of this big dud. This new Baywatch drowns in its own ambitions trying to be a zany comedy full of big explosions and bouncy breasts. It’s pretty bad when the old series is more enduring than this new take that can’t even manage to make the bloopers during the end credits funny.
Overall, I give Baywatch 0.5 out of 4 stars.
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