review Bobby Blakey
Despite its popularity I was one of those that hated the Baywatch TV series. I tired watching it a few times and just could not get through it. When they announced a movie for it I cared even less until I saw the cast involved including Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Prinyanka Chopra, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, John Bass, Hannibal Buress, Rob Huebel, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Oscar Nunez with Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon at the helm I found myself interested in Baywatch for the first time ever. Could this film offer up the action and laughs the trailer promises or will it drown before it can be saved?
Baywatch follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay. They took a smart page out of the 21 Jump Street playbook and have created a pretty fun flick. Sure there is a load of ridiculous situations and laughs, but that is part of the charm. While the title and basic premise are the same this is a whole different animal than the show ever was that fully utilizes its R rating even it not always as far as it could have. Let’s be clear this is not doing anything new in the comedy world, but if you can step in and just enjoy it for what it is it is pretty fun.
Part of enjoying this film is liking the cast. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like Johnson who always brings his big infectious smile to roles like this. He is the perfect person to lead this team although I will admit he stands out a bit more being so much bigger than everyone else. This might have just been me, but I just couldn’t stop noticing that he is clearly cut from a different cloth than the rest. Efron is one of those actors that I fought liking him for so long, but it is hard not to admit that he is just fun to watch. I am not sure why he keeps playing these douche bag roles that get mocked, but it is pretty funny to watch. The biggest reason this film works is the fun chemistry between Johnson and Efron. Should this film do well enough I am hoping we can see both of these characters do so much more.
The rest of the cast do a good job with John Bass getting most of the laughs and Daddario, Rohrbach and Hadera bringing the sex appeal to the beach that is expected with the Baywatch brand. Thankfully none of them are played for dumb sex symbol characters and each bringing their own thing to the table. Prinyanka Chopra was the only person here that is given all that much to do. She is a great choice for the villain and is stunning to look at, but just didn’t have much meat to the overall character. One of the things I loved about the direction of this film is that it makes fun of everything about the original brand without insulting it. The show was known for the ridiculous things they did that went way beyond being lifeguards and they have a lot of fun with it here.
If there are any real complaints it comes in the action and the fact that they played it too safe at times. The action all felt pretty generic which is a bummer when you have someone like Johnson at the helm that has already become an action icon in his own right. There rely on a bit too many one liners that wear thin at times and outside of a few of the dick jokes never fully push the R rating envelope like they could have. None of this really hurt the overall film for me as I still laughed pretty hard and had a great time. If you are expecting muscles, sexy lifeguards, laughs and plenty of waves then give Baywatch a shot.
In addition to the film this release also includes bonus content including deleted & extended scenes, featurettes and both the theatrical and extended cut of the film. Hit the beach and join the case when Baywatch hits Digital HD on August 15th and then 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray Combo and DVD on August 29th from Paramount Home Entertainment.