Movie Review : Baywatch (2017)
Baywatch was a silly television show from the nineties, where lifeguards constantly fought crime and corruption off their beach and showed considerably more boobs than anything available on network television back then. I, like any sexually healthy teenager growing up then, was very much into it. It's one of the many beautiful things the internet killed, along with creativity, productivity , human decency and others. The project of rebooting Baywatch for a summer movie last year was so fucking silly and useless than it could've worked.
I mean, how bad could The Rock and Zac Efron kicking ass while wearing orange lifeguard shorts actually be? Turns out, it was worse than I could possibly imagine....
So, Baywatch is a soft reboot of the series. Some characters are back, namely Mitch Buchannon (The Rock), C.J Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) and the lesser known Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Mitch is holding tryout for the baywatch team to fill three vacant spot when a small bag of designer drugs washes ashore. That kind of bullshit doesn't fly on Mitch Buchannon's watch, so he takes his team of "ragtag newbies" * and investigates the hell out of that shit. Because no one messes with good people of the bay's clean summer fun.
The first telltale sign that a movie is going to suck balls is too many writing credits. And there are NINE for Baywatch: three for the original creators of the show, four only to come up with the two and two for the screenplay alone. This is a textbook case of overbearing studio interference in a movie and it shows in the end result. I mean, making a silly fart jokes Baywatch movie starring The Rock shouldn't have been that hard, but they messed that up.
Here's a non-extensive list of shit that doesn't many any sense in that movie.
1) There's a fat nerd character named Ronnie (Jon Bass) who's sole purpose is porking C.J at the end. Such characters existed before in similar movies, but they were the main protagonist and it involved a romantic pursuit of some kind. But here's the thing. Ronnie is a support character. There's nothing in his character on accomplishment that would justify C.J falling for him unless she had a fetish for weird, ugly guys.
2) I'm not done with that Ronnie bullshit. He eventually makes the baywatch team despite being out of shape and having no discernible skill for the job. The only thing he did prior in the movie is getting his dick caught in a sunbathing chair. It would make sense if Mitch chose him to mentor him and develop his self-confidence, but he barely gives Ronnie the time of day during the movie. They just awkwardly shoved an underdog, comedic relief character to bed C.J when it had absolutely no place to be.
3) The majority of the jokes just aren't funny and not well-rendered by the actors. The Rock has a few moments here and there (notably the fist fight in the little girl bedroom), but most of the jokes are either clichés or fall flat. There's a good setup at some point where the characters need to hide in morgue drawers, but they underplayed the hell out of that scene when they needed to go full slapstick. Oh, and the dick stuck in the sunbathing chair joke is loosely borrowed from There's something about Mary. You're not fooling anyone, Baywatch.
4) Anybody else noticed that Matt Brody becomes dumb about halfway into the movie? He's brash and thoughtless for about 75 minutes and then starts spouting dumb guy jokes out of the blue... and then stops? That is a fucking tonal mess if I've ever seen one and it's too bad because Zac Efron is a competent actor despite looking like he was bio-engineered out of a 1950s movie executive fantasy, and that part was well within his range.
5) Remember when I talked about how much I hated the monomyth story structure? There's a glaring inmost cave moment in this movie that blatantly serves one purpose: introducing a David Hasselhoff cameo. Can't blame the movie for that (it was to be expected), but it pissed me off nonetheless.
6) Baywatch is constantly shifting tone between the corny and far fetched tone of the series and self-aware comedy. Fucking pick one. There are some long stretched without any jokes in the movie, which is... I repeat, featuring The Rock and a slew of actors straight out of one of these joke-a-minute paroies like Scary Movie or Disaster Movie. You can't earnestly reboot Baywatch, so I'm really wondering how it wasn't just wall to wall humor. People visibly argued about what to do with these characters.
7) I could go on all day, but you get the gist.
I wanted to like Baywatch. The original show was pulp with ridiculous psychosexual undertones and making fun of this shouldn't have been that hard. It had a great promo run, too with the "Summer is coming" pre-release posters, which got me pumped for some mad beach fisticuffs. But this movie is 100% deserving of the Razzie Award it got a couple weeks ago. I would've recommended a double Razzie if it was possible. It's a shame that movies like this exist. Baywatch is beyond a cynical cash grab, it's a battlefield between studio executives that leaves a talented cast fending off for themselves working with a turd of a screenplay.
Shame on you, Hollywood. Bullshit movies like Baywatch are the reason why people desert theaters.
* They aren't really that.