Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron star in the action comedy reboot of the hit 90’s TV show Baywatch. Featuring an ensemble that also stars Alexandra Daddario, Ilfenesh Hadera, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, and Priyanka Chopra, the film revolves around a group of lifeguards who must protect the bay from a drug laundering scandal. Instead of going the self serious route like the original series, the film takes advantage of the campiness by riffing off of its original source material. Whether it be joking about the slow motion run or establishing the prestige and honor it is to work for Baywatch. Much like the Jump Street franchise, Baywatch is well aware of the original which results in it being a satisfying remake in which they’re constantly winking into the camera to let us know they’re in on the joke as well.
The runtime of two hours can be felt towards the beginning of the third act but the charismatic cast helps to carry it to the end. Some will argue that the R rating wasn’t necessary and that the film ultimately falters because of it. The rating itself gives the movie opportunities to throw in some crazy gags that will get a reaction regardless. The comedy itself is nothing new while being too on the nose. Often becoming repetitive over time as the running joke of “being lifeguards, not cops” is mentioned more than enough. Still, the idea of over proud lifeguards standing up to defend their beach against a drug lord is ridiculous in itself as they become super sleuths over the period of the film.
Though the action and comedy might not reach the same heights as 21 and 22 Jump Street, there is still a lot to like and laugh at. Whether it be the farcical fire or the absurd morgue scene. you get to see stars like Johnson and Efron buying in. Johnson plays Mitch Buchannon, the leader of the elite team of lifeguards. Zac Efron plays Matt Brody, the disgraced Olympic gold medalist who is used as PR stunt to restore the Baywatch brand.
Brody and Mitch butt heads over Matt’s commitment to the team and his reckless personality. The two leads once again show they’re more than capable of leading a comedy. The relationship between the two of them also features a few moments of heart as they put aside their differences to work together and stop the Bond-like villain played by Chopra.
The chemistry between the Baywatch crew is apparent which helps to elevate the movie when the script doesn’t. In a film like Baywatch, nitpicking supporting character depth seems implausible. For what they’re given to work with, the rest of the crew offer additional comedy and charm. Jon Bass plays the likeable dork who has a crush on Kelly Rohrbach’s CJ. The unlikely pairing is a short and sweet subplot that adds another layer to their characters. Alexandra Daddario plays Summer, a new Baywatch recruit and the love interest for Brody. Her glowing personality is a nice addition to the film and is on full display as she teases the childish Matt Brody.
Baywatch is a perfectly suitable and satisfying summer flick and makes for some decent fun. The film has its flaws but benefits from a cast of gorgeous people that happen to have charisma as well. A guilty pleasure watch, the story itself is generic but the idea alone will make you smile and shake your head. Director Seth Gordon is well aware of the film he is making, which is clear from the opening title sequence. If you go into the movie expecting an action comedy starring Johnson and Efron with a beautiful beach as a backdrop you’re gonna enjoy yourself. If you have any doubts, whether it be from the marketing or the overall concept of crime stopping lifeguards, don’t waste your time and money with this one.