In Theatres: 
May 25, 2017
Running Time: 
119 minutes

Baywatch was never my show. I was familiar with it and the notoriety of its star, David Hasselhoff. But aside from its insanely attractive cast, skimpy bathing suits, and its love for slow motion shots, I really had no idea about the show itself. Given the success of films like 21 Jump Street, I can’t say I’m surprised that Hollywood has made a raunchy R-rated adaptation of a television show steeped in nostalgia. Unfortunately Baywatch is more of a CHiPs than a 21 Jump Street, with its lackluster story and overdone lowbrow humor. It’s a film not worth rescuing.


Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) leads a team of elite lifeguards who survey the beach and its waters and protect the people from whatever hazards that may come across. Despite the good they do, team Baywatch’s rating is at an all time low with the city. To increase their appeal, they hire former Olympic swimmer and two-time gold medal winner Matt Brody (Zac Efron), much to the dismay of Mitch who believes it all to be just a silly publicity stunt. His opportunity to prove himself comes quickly, however, as an influx of drugs have been making their way into the bay. With the police preoccupied with other things, Mitch decides to take matters into his own hands and puts team Baywatch on the case.


The plot is about as thin as you can get, but thankfully Dwayne Johnson and the rest of the cast do manage to bring a wonderful charm to the film. Johnson is hilarious most of the time, and the dynamic between him and Efron is wonderful, especially given all the nicknames he uses throughout. But by far I was most surprised by Jon Bass who plays Ronnie, the only member of team Baywatch who doesn’t have a perfectly sculpted body. Sure, he’s the comic relief character of a film where everyone is supposed to be funny, but he embraces the role absolutely perfectly and stands toe-to-toe with the rest of the cast.


The Rock is always at the top of his game, even when sometimes his movies are not. Unfortunately that happens to be the case with Baywatch. The film is nothing more than a bunch of dick jokes and slow motion sex appeal. Two scenes in particular, one which involves Ronnie getting his genitals stuck in a lounging chair and the other which involves Brody fondling a dead guy’s genitals, go on for way too long. Sure, it’s good for a quick laugh at the beginning, but after a while the scenes just become boring.


Baywatch fails to capture the campiness of the original show. As a result, it’s just another generic action comedy. It doesn’t go full overboard with its humor, despite the outrageousness of some of its jokes like the two mentioned above. Even despite it’s R-rating and raunchiness, I couldn’t help but feel like the film was still playing it safe. I wanted more from it. It relies too heavily on the brandname and fans’ nostalgia and doesn’t add anything particularly interesting. While there are a few good laughs from Baywatch, they’re not enough to keep the film from drowning.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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