Not even The Rock and a boat full of life jackets can keep this disaster afloat
The Rock takes on The Hoff’s legacy as everyone’s favourite crime-solving lifeguards don the red swimsuits in a newly imagined Baywatch crew.Baywatch is one of those series that everyone knows, even though no one really thought it was actually any good. It’s amazing really, even if you didn't watch the show during its original run (the series first premiered in 1989 and some how managed to run until 2001), you will undoubtedly know about it. You’ve seen the swimsuits, you can do the slow-motion run and, of course, you know David 'The Hoff' Hasselhoff.So it makes sense that in this age of remakes and reboots someone would bring it back to the big screen. But let’s be real – the original Baywatch wasn’t breaking any new ground. It was silly. The 2017 version ditches silliness for all-out physical comedy. This includes projectile vomiting and a scene in which the two lead actors handle a dead man’s penis. I mean... you weren’t expecting much, were you?
The concept of the film is the same as the series – a crew of attractive lifeguards run around (inexplicably) solving crime. But somewhere between the drawing board and the surfboard something’s been lost in translation – the series was an icon of silliness – there’s no amount of resuscitation that can save this wreckage of a film.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes on David Hasselhoff’s mantle and leads the group as Mitch Bucannon, the leader of Emerald Beach’s lifeguards. He’s beloved in the community but his comfortable life is soon disrupted by a stubborn new recruit, Zac Efron’s Matt Brody. Brody is a disgraced Olympian whose participation in Baywatch is part community service, part publicity stunt.
This film adaptation of the silly TV series is like a sitcom on crystal meth
There are some self-referential moments of comedy that work, but before long the raucous, zany comedy is interrupted by a semi-plot involving Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra), the owner of the Huntley beach club who is suspected of smuggling drugs. The cast is excellent, and what could have been a really fun, charming comedy turns into an unnecessarily long half-comedy that feels stale, predictable and, well, stupid. It’s got some really, really unncecessary penis-based jokes, a lot of changes in tone and an absolute deluge of clichés. It’s like a sitcom on crystal meth.
One of the worst things about it is the vague feeling that this might have not been awful. Johnson and Efron are both capable leads, the rest of the crew (Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass and Ilfenesh Hadera) and Chopra all have more potential than the confused/pointless/unfunny script give them credit for. The ‘reboot’ has taken the crime-fighting whodunit part of the show and tried to do a 21 Jump Street style comedy do-over. Neither part of the script ever feels fully realised, and both are so under-developed that even multiple life jackets wouldn’t keep this thing afloat.
Basically, it’s like a Bank Holiday weekend at any British beach; there’s a lot of flesh on show, and you go into it deluding yourself it’s going to be fun. It’s not, it’s uncomfortable and you spend most of it thinking of all the other less uncomfortable things you could have been doing.
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