Sep 29, 2017

[Movies] Baywatch (2017) Review

As much as Tobie likes to tease me with Zac Efron movies for one reason or another, the first trailers for the unexpected Baywatch movie actually seemed rather promising. They demonstrated that they were away of the more ridiculous aspects of the original show and were more than willing to embrace those tropes for the sake of a punchline.

But the actual Baywatch movie was an entirely different beast with some good points but also a lot of opportunities. And I suppose that was to be expected from a comedy of this nature as it was designed to get cheap laughs and in that respect it generally succeeded. This doesn't quite make it an award-winning movie, but it did achieve its modest goals.

But it's still a movie that relies a lot knowledge or at least familiarity with the original. The story of the movie on its own is decent but nothing to write home about, if you get my drift. It's the nostalgia factor that really drives things forward.

Synopsis: Baywatch is a 2017 American comedy movie directed by Seth Rogen with a screenplay by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, The movie was inspired by the television series of the same name that ran from 1989-1990.

Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) leads a team of lifeguards who guard Emerald Bay as part of the elite division of lifeguards o some sort known as Baywatch. Mitch is a local hero with over 500 rescues under his belt. But things get shaken up when his boss Captain Thorpe (Rob Huebel ) brings in Matt Brody (Zac Efron) bad boy former Olympic gold medalist swimmer in an effort to make the Baywatch more popular and thus better secure their funding. But of course he refuses to even go through the tryouts, much to the annoyance of Mitch.

At the same time, Mitch discovers a pouch of drugs on the beachfront near the Huntley Club owned by Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra). And while investigating such a crime is well beyond the scope of their beach protection role Mitch and his team try to find clues to determine where the drugs are coming from and what larger plot may be afoot. And how Matt will find a way to fit into the group is a good chunk of the movie.

What I Liked: The self-aware nature of the humor of the movie was one of the parts off the trailer that drew us in. Thus we have moments that celebrate lifeguards running in slow motion even though everyone else is running at normal speed and then of course we have the inevitable cameos by folks from the original TV series.

And the movie has its fair share of gratuitous indulgence whether you're into The Rock, Zac Efron or any of the women running in slow motion. I won't lie that I can't really refuse some eye candy and the movie made sure to indulge when needed. This is a movie that celebrates the shallow.

What Could Have Been Better: That said, the comedy factor off this movie was pretty low-brow with every other joke sequence reeking of Seth Rogen. He's funny in moderation but I don't need a whole cast forcibly trying to be funny in a rude and offensive way. And there are just too many scenes like that, many of which felt forced or just too crass to be enjoyable.

And then the overall plot is just...strange. I know the crime piece will always feel a little forced when it comes to the core concept of the show but we really spent a lot of time being goofy detectives instead of actually saving lives on the beach. The movie does take a moment to call this out as a narrative consequence but still it felt rather disjoint.

TL;DR: Baywatch tried really hard to be a great comedy homage to a surprisingly popular show but in the end it just came out sad. The supporting cast really didn't get much characterization and the attention the leads go didn't really pan out. Thus the show only gets 2 crazy excuses to get Johnson and Efron to flex or lose their shirts out of a possible 5.

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