2.5/5* Shiv’s Show | Siobhan Divers
Dir: Seth Gordon
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexander Daddario, Jon Bass, Hannibal Buress, Kelly Rohrbach, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff.
The filmic adaptation of iconic 90’s TV series of the same name, Baywatch leaves much to be desired. While it is a watchable summer flick with a strong cast, it fails in its attempts to be funny and only gets interesting towards the latter part of the film when the audience has already probably fallen asleep or changed the channel anyway.
Centering around Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson), a lifeguard in Florida, and his team, the narrative opens with the elite Baywatch lifeguard division hosting tryouts for prospective future lifeguards. Selected to join the team from the tryouts then, is surfer Summer Quinn (Alexander Daddario) and Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass). Disgraced Olympic gold medal swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron) also joins the team as a result of a community service plea deal to rehabilitate his public image. With his team in place, Mitch Buchannon saves the lives of people on the beach and somehow still finds a considerable amount of time to fight crime: taking it upon himself to find and take down a drug organisation ran by the completely underused villain Victoria (Priyanka Chopra)
Like some of Zac Efron’s other films such as We Are Your Friends and Dirty Grandpa, Baywatch is relatively slow to start with the music overpowering the first few scenes of dialogue (The High School Musical film series will always be his best movies, don’t @ me). The bar for comedy is set pretty low from the start with an uncomfortably unfunny scene where Ronnie gets his erection unrealistically stuck within a sun-chair while Mitch constantly attacks Matt with equally as unfunny jibes about his appearance (baby gap, Malibu ken, Bieber, High School Musical: the list goes on…)
Around the 40 minute mark, the film picks up and starts to get slightly more interesting however by this point, the plot is quite predictable with few surprises. There are, however, some scenes and characters worth mentioning as they make the film, at the very least, bearable.
Priyanka Chopra’s character Victoria is easily the best on-screen performer with some of the most interesting plot developments centering around her, while cameos from Pamela Anderson and David Hasslehoff are a charming connection to the television series: David Hasslehoff plays Dwayne’s mentor and after seeing Mitch wearing shoes on dry land (a shop floor) says: “You’re wearing worker mans shoes? Really? How far have you fallen?”
With some scenes of genuine action and entertainment – there’s chases and murder (and a joke or two), Baywatch isn’t exactly a bad film, but in saying that, it isn’t the best film either. A summer film centering around the beach and some impressive beach bodies, Baywatch has an interesting storyline once you make it past lack of humour and predictability.
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