Maybe I’m showing my age here, but the first time I encountered Baywatch was in the context of the Spongebob Squarepants Movie. David Hasselhoff runs across the beach in slow motion in red togs, before transforming into a bobblehead-type powered lifeboat and getting Spongebob’s mission back on track through the sheer power of the Hoff’s pecs.
To be honest, 2017’s take on Baywatch isn’t much of a step up from that. Like Spongebob, it’s stupid comedy, albeit very adult, and it definitely has a lot of value for those who like gross laughs.
Baywatch is directed by Seth Gordon. He directed Pixels, and that kinda speaks volumes as to the quality of this film (note: bad). It stars Dwayne The Rock Johnson (2017’s Hoff), Zac Efron (hot Olympian who pukes all the time) Jon Bass (dude who gets his penis stuck in a deckchair) and a bunch of women whose job description seems to be ‘eye candy’ over ‘actual life saving’. It takes place in Emerald Bay, Florida, where swimming lessons really should be offered at the local primary schools because no-one seems to have any idea how to swim.
The plot doesn’t do much to redeem itself either. Think of a storyline involving a drug dealer and a couple of thugs that could have been dealt with in twenty minutes, but instead is stretched painfully thin over a few hours. But does that really matter? No. Why? This isn’t a movie you watch to dig into an intricate and powerful plot! You watch it to see some people mess around with a dead man’s penis. Yes, really.
Other reoccurring themes in Baywatch include paying a bit of homage to its source material – running down the beach in slow motion – and making beach-based puns and jokes. ‘Stringray? RIP Steve Irwin!’ I’m guessing a lot of this came out of trying to be ironic and self-aware, but in actuality is just a bit painful to watch. Plus the Steve Irwin joke is a bit of a dick move. It’s also worth noting that Baywatch’s most redeeming feature (The Rock) is out of action for basically half the movie. This wouldn’t matter so much if he wasn’t the best thing about a bad thing by a mile.
I’m not sure I’d pay to see Baywatch in the cinema. It’s really a bit too crude, graphic and outright stupid for many people (dead dudes penis, anyone?) but that doesn’t mean it’s not good for a laugh for people who like that kind of thing.