Just in case you weren’t already disappointed enough with that non-existent beach body that you promised yourself you’d have by summer, ‘Baywatch’ has washed up just in time to remind you of it. If the film was being judged solely on the beautiful, bronzed bodies of Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and co. running in slow-motion across sandy shores we’d be handing out newly designed Oscars featuring little golden versions of The Rock straight away. However, for audiences not so shallow this might not be the case.
Based on the hugely popular television series of the same name, ‘Baywatch’ was all set to be the action comedy blockbuster of the summer. Although with disappointing opening numbers from across the pond it looked to be trouble at sea for Mitch Buchannon and the gang. If the action sequences were anything to go by this makes sense. For many of these sequences you could have been forgiven for thinking you were watching something on the ‘Syfy’ channel. The effects were pretty terrible, the best/worst example being when a boat catches fire mid film. The action scenes not involving CGI were always much easier to enjoy and often set to high energy pop music which helped to inject a bit of life into the picture. However, for every good choice of music there seemed to also be an equally bizarre one. This created a bit of a barrier to the fluidity of the film as a whole and held back from the summer party vibe that the film was clearly going for. The narrative that these action sequences are born out of is fairly by the numbers. It’s predictable, but there’s not all that wrong with that as it’s more of a vehicle for the comedy.
However saying that, the lack of a creative narrative does becomes somewhat of an issue when the comedy doesn’t land. Much like the soundtrack it’s fairly hit & miss. There’s nothing hysterical about the movie but it also never fails to amuse it’s audience. The best element to the comedy is probably listening to the nicknames that The Rock’s character makes up for Zac Efron’s. This chemistry between the cast and their performances go a long way to making the film watchable. I’ve never been an advocate for Dwayne Johnson as a comedic actor but he at least shows improvement here from the likes of his previous comedy performances such as his role in ‘Central Intelligence’. Thankfully his character, previously played by David Hasselhoff, offers Johnson the tough guy routine to fall back on, which of course he nails. Co-star Zac Efron is well versed in playing the dumb pretty boy so takes to his role of disgraced gold medalist, Matt Brody, like a duck to water. The rest of the lifeguard gang certainly have all the right assets to make the film look the part, making up for the poor special effects somewhat. The film even manages to include a couple of cameos from the shows biggest stars. The Hoff’s one is pretty rubbish but Pamela Anderson fares better capturing the fun of the TV show and the film.
It’s understandable why critics are hating this and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of disappointed audiences too. However, for me anyway the film always did just enough to stay afloat. The cast work well and there is enough entertainment in the gags and story to hold your attention. Like our very own British summers, go into ‘Baywatch’ with the lowest of expectations and you might just be surprised what you can make of it.
Rating – 6/10
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