Baywatch - 2017
Baywatch is a movie. And I watched it. Now we are here. It stars the charisma machine of Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra and other bodies. This movie tries to follows the footsteps of the 21 Jump Street franchise by taking cult classic TV show with an absurd premise and putting it up on the big screen. The movie is directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief) and is written by a total of six writers. The premise is simple enough: established life guard group lead by Johnson is forced to add cocky, washed up Gold Medal Olympian, Efron, to their group. Together they must overcome their differences to bring down a drug cartel working in their waters.
Before I go on I feel the need to provide you with some background. I grew up watching WWF Monday night Raw, during the attitude era. Therefore I saw the rise of Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. I have been a huge fan of him and have since enjoyed pretty much every single movie he’s put out. Along with being a fan of The Rock, I have fully enjoyed Efron’s comedic focus as of late, with the Neighbors movies and being the bright spot in the Dirty Grandpa movie. Baywatch the TV show was, well… part of my formative years as a young boy. So, when I saw that The Rock and Efron are teaming up to do a R rated satiric take of Baywatch I was 100% in. And then I saw it.
This movie, despite having six writers, only has three jokes that they beat bloody to the ground. The first joke is Johnson making fun of Efron by calling him different “funny” names to prove he’s in charge. He goes through such ringers as “’Nsync”, “Bieber” and “High School Musical” all were, I guess, meant to elicit laughter, but after the third nickname it got tiresome. The second joke is the fat guy drooling over the hot blonde. To be honest, they were one of the best comedic aspects of the movie. Both actors were charismatic and entertaining. But their interactions got tiresome since the fat guy always had to have the same reactions to her presence. The last joke was the fact that Efron and pretty much everyone outside of the life guard squad keep repeating that the police should be the ones solving this case. I probably laughed once at it and, well, I think you know what happened after that.
The CGI is so bad in this movie. I know what you may be thinking: It’s a Baywatch movie, the CGI isn’t what you should focus on. I agree, but it’s distractingly bad. When they used CGI to impose their actor’s faces on their stunt double it was painfully obvious. There are scenes that you can’t deny green screen was excessively used. The worst offense comes from the scene showcased in the trailer of Johnson saving people in a yacht that is on fire. The fire effects felt like they were taken out of a graphics card of a PS2 game. Also, the last sequence involved a helicopter and fireworks and the fire looked like Avatar graphics compared to them.
I have seen the argument online saying this movie is meant to be fun and not to be taken seriously. I truly wanted to have fun but I found myself looking at my watch, wondering how long I had before I could leave the theater. This movie managed to take the duo of Johnson and Efron and make a boring movie. I will give them this: the casting of Chopra was great and she was by far the bright spot of this movie. She gave her character some depth thanks to her subtle change of line delivery and mannerism. I look forward to seeing her in more movies from now on.
Baywatch was a failed attempt to cash in on the charisma machine of Johnson and the market 21 Jump Street created with audiences. It failed to be fun, funny and entertaining. At least I found Chopra, who can be described as a diamond in a rough movie. Finding a new actor in a bad movie is well, why I love movies.
Baywatch is currently playing in theater. You will be better off re-watching the old TV series. They will be there.
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