Movie Review: 'Baywatch'
Opened: 25 May 2017 (UK)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson
Director: Seth Gordon
Producers: Ivan Reitman, Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, Gregory J. Bonann, Beau Flynn
Oh dear. You know there's something seriously amiss in a motion picture, when it makes Efron's own mind numbingly puerile Dirty Grandpa, feel like Citizen Kane in comparison to this turgid mess of a film so lazily scripted, that it relies solely on a heady concoction of unfunny gags, crass jokes and infantile humour, to see it through.
In hindsight, there's only so far you can take a venture that itself is based on a poorly enacted 90's TV show, where a decent plot was the least of the producers' concerns, given that it's focus revolved almost entirely around aesthetically pleasing nobodies who's only talent, seemingly, was to pout and preen in slo-mo. Still at least there, the actors took themselves half seriously, even if the audience didn't.
The problem with Baywatch (the movie that is), is that besides Chopra, the rest of the actors don't attempt to add even an iota of depth or dimension to their caricaturish parts, making it blatantly obvious (especially from the gag reel in the end credits), that they were there with the sole intent of an all expenses paid vacation in Florida and collect their pay cheques at the end of this mind numbing comedy, that goes nowhere quickly. And if its original intent was to be a satirical, self deprecating dig at a much loved TV show then I'm sorry, it fails woefully on that front too.
The threadbare excuse of a plot (if you want to call it that), revolving around a group of dimwit, self righteous lifeguards headed off by Mitch Buchanan (Johnson), and an impulsive gold medalist (Efron), and their futile attempts at busting an undercover drug trafficking heiress (Chopra, who at least attempts to have fun with the part, looking gorgeous besides), but unwittingly uncover an even bigger scandal, seems to have been put together by an amateur who's clearly ingested a chunk of the problematic substances, that have washed onto the bay in the movie, and is completely devoid of heart, soul or mirth. Clearly a huge waste of potential and resources that have been pumped into a film, that evidently is DOA, and has very rightly, been panned from every quarter.
What's equally frustrating is that director Seth Gordon can't seem to decide exactly which audience this travesty is aimed at, because despite the generous use of expletives the humour itself is clearly aimed at infants in pre-school. Which is why there is little that even the actors can do to rescue it from the depths of despair. While Johnson goes through the motions with his trademark poker facedness, Efron hams and sulks without rhyme or reason, and in this instance, even his perfectly sculpted abs, display more acting chops than any facial expression he can be bothered to muster up. It's then left to Chopra, who despite being under utilised, to channel her inner bitch to add any kind of fun here, which she does, but the scenes involving her are too far and few between, and when she finally does get a chance to shine in the climax it's all too little too late.
In summary then, did I want to watch this film? Yes. Was I a fan of the TV show? Yes. I'm shallow, blow me. Did I want to believe the unanimous flak it had received. Erm. No. But to my dismay, it turned out to be worse, much worse than I'd expected. As such I'm going with a single star, for Chopra's unfailing charisma because she, for our sakes, deserved a better Hollywood launchpad than this catastrophic pile of turd, that is less comedy, more calamity.