Baywatch (2017) Review

Baywatch follows the lifeguard team of Emerald Bay led by the no-nonsense lieutenant, Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and his two trusty colleagues, CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) and Stephanie Holden (Illfenesh Hadera), looking for this year’s new recruits to join them. Trouble arises when Mitch is forced by his superior to train disgraced two-time Olympic gold medallist Matt Brody (Zac Efron) as one of his latest recruits. Then, there is a new threat involving a local drug smuggling ring operated by Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra), which prompted Mitch and his team to investigate the matter.

Here’s the thing about the Baywatch TV series, which ran 11 seasons from 1989 to 2001: it was hardly a high-quality show but more of a guilty pleasure entertainment featuring sexy girls and hot hunks parading around in their iconic red swimwear.

In this big-screen version of Baywatch, Seth Gordon of the Horrible Bosses fame alongside Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (Freddy vs. Jason, Friday the 13th) attempts to go the 21 Jump Street route by turning a cult-classic TV show into an 18-rated territory. You can expect lots of F-bombs, boob and dick jokes here. But most of them either sadly misses the mark or trying too hard to be funny. For instance, the extended set-piece in a morgue quickly comes to mind. If there is any consolation, the only worthwhile comedy bit I can think of is the earlier scene, where Ronnie (Jon Bass) got his erected penis stuck between the slats of a deck chair. That particular scene reminds me of Ben Stiller’s frank and beans moment in There’s Something Funny About Mary (1998), even though the latter one is admittedly funnier.

Baywatch also tries to mesh itself into the mix with a blend of action comedy. Unfortunately, the movie falters with limp action sequences and surprisingly bad effects, particularly during the fiery yacht scene.

The cast is a mixed bag. Dwayne Johnson is fairly amusing and charismatic as Mitch Buchannon, a role originally made famous by David Hasselhoff in the TV series. Zac Efron, looking amazingly ripped with his toned physique, basically playing the same old frat-boy stereotype as Matt Brody. Jon Bass is likeable as Ronnie, while the girls — Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach (playing the Pamela Anderson role of CJ Parker) and Ilfenesh Hadera — are nothing more than mere eye candy. Bollywood actress and current star of TV’s Quantico Priyanka Chopra, who supposed to be an interesting choice for playing the main antagonist in this movie, is mostly underutilised as Victoria Leeds. As for the cameos, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson fail to make a lasting impression with their limited roles.

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