Between 1989 and 2001 the Baywatch TV Series graced the small screen. Led by David Hasselhoff and a young Pamela Anderson, it’s entire purpose seems to me to have been a success due to the appeal of ogling attractive people in swimming costumes. In the interest of research I attempted to watch an episode of the show and was treated to one of the cheesiest and unintentionally funny things I have ever witnessed, with Troll 2-level acting and the storytelling equivalent of a bad soap opera, as well as an absolutely hilarious chase scene in which a man ran (or stumbled) in circles across a beach in an attempt to escape a man on a quad bike.
Surely then, all the 2017 summer comedy blockbuster would need to do is replicate some of this ridiculous cheese but with The Rock in place of The Hoff and a collection of other eye-candy life guards, right? Right. But was this intentional comedy able to replicate the comedic success of the unintentionally funny TV show? In a word.. no.
Baywatch is a comedy so devoid of laughter that I would struggle to even call it a comedy. I think it was able to force one solitary chuckle out of my mouth, and that was in the gag reel over the end credits. I must say I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece by any means, I was expecting a fun, stupid and funny film in a similar vein to 21 Jump Street or We’re The Millers but instead I got a humour vacuum. The film is overly reliant on gross humour and struggles to find anything beyond that for an audience to laugh at. It is also far too long at 121 mins, especially considering the woeful plot is a cliché-ridden mess.
The cast is more competent than the material deserves. Dwayne Johnson stars as Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon. Johnson has been funny in a few comedic roles as of late. While Central Intelligence wasn’t great, he was amusing in it and he was excellent in Moana. In Baywatch he isn’t given anything funny to do. He’s the tough, straight-laced leader who thinks that the lifeguards are as good as a police force, but his character is too boring to provide any comedy. Zac Efron is Matt Brody, a rebellious former Olympic swimmer who must finally learn to be part of a team for the good of the community.
Alessandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach are both fine in their roles. They seem to have been cast for their attractiveness and they too are given nothing funny to do. Jon Bass does a poor impression of Jonah Hill as the awkward comic relief character. His big comic set pieces were crass and consisted of him being a nerd who can’t talk to girls. Priyanka Chopra is Victoria Leeds, the villain who is evil because she likes money and is terribly cliched.
Overall Baywatch is a dirge of a comedy film. If you have a sudden craving to pair laughter and the beach, watch an episode of the TV series, or visit a beach and watch a funnier film.
Baywatch will be available on home entertainment soon. Image source: Youtube.com