Thursday, May 25, 2017

Baywatch

Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron star in Baywatch.
By George M. Thomas

If there were ever a television show ripe for lampooning on the big screen, that 90s jigglefest BAYWATCH would be it.

Personally, I never watched the show.  I had better things to do like organize my sock drawer. But there are plenty of folks who did watch during the series’ run in syndication from 1989 to 2001. 

Yes, that’s 12 years of unbelievable, inane plots and enough skin for the time to start a soft porn site. But hey, somehow David Hasselhoff and his crew of beautiful people found an audience.


If the film adaptation does the same, I wouldn’t be shocked. But make no mistake, this is just another in a long line of such dubious adaptations that play on nostalgia while giving little to those fans of the original.  But should fans of  BAYWATCH the TV series really expect much?

Well, sure, if there’s a cast that includes Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, who have both shown comedic skills in other films.  And in this movie, which is decidedly of the adult variety, they’re game for some play along with their cast mates.  There are also the required cameos from Hasselhoff and Pam Anderson, another individual who rode the 'Baywatch' wave to stardom. But none of that’s enough.

After a promising start with some genuinely funny moments – enjoy them, they are few after that – BAYWATCH quickly drowns.

The plot centers on an investigation that normally would be handled by the cops, not lifeguards.  Big surprise, eh? Mitch (Johnson), head lifeguard, stumbles across a drug ring operating on his beach, leading him, much to the dismay of the local cop on the beat, to start investigating.  Of course he enlists the aid of his team, including Matt Brody (Efron), a riff on Team USA swimmer Ryan Locte.  Brody’s there for community service and he has little problem expressing his opinion of what’s happening with Mitch and crew.

The statement: “We’re lifeguards” is a constant refrain.  Needless to say, it falls upon deaf ears with Mitch and his loyalists. Of course, that’s also one of the comedic points. Unfortunately, however, it’s never well executed and comes across as an annoyance more than anything of comedic substance.

There are more than a few instances of jokes falling with a thud or succumbing to pervasive predictability over the course of its nearly two hours on the screen, leaving BAYWATCH awash in a sea of mediocrity.  

Movie: Baywatch 
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron
 Directed by:  Seth Gordon 
Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes 
Rating: R for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity1.5-of-4 stars

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