Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario
Director: Seth Gordon
Running Time: 116 mins
Baywatch is an American film about a team of devoted lifeguards who welcome a trio of new recruits to the squad, at the time when they begin to uncover a deadly trail of corruption that extends all along the beachfront.
This isn’t a particularly stunning comedy, but nor is it an awful one. Although it’s not the greatest when it comes to the laughter count, a hugely entertaining cast backed up by a very light-hearted and silly atmosphere makes for a pleasant, throwaway comedy, and if you’re expecting anything more from Baywatch, you’ll definitely be disappointed.
As we’ve seen time and time again over the last few years, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can do pretty much anything and come out on top. Baywatch isn’t a great film, but it would be much, much worse without him. The Rock’s effortless charisma is on show once again here, and although he’s not at top charm throughout (largely due to a more mediocre screenplay), he’s the perfect action hero and comedic personality to lead the movie.
Alongside him, Zac Efron puts in yet another entertaining comedic turn, whilst Alexandra Daddario is very likable in the supporting role. Some of the other side performances don’t do all that much to add to the entertainment factor, but that leading trio is charismatic and enjoyable enough to have you smiling all the way throught the movie.
And that leads me onto the one element of the film’s screenplay that I was genuinely impressed by. As derided as the Baywatch premise is for being nothing more than blatant attempts to show people with as little clothes on as possible, this film manages to make fun of that as well.
Sure, there are numerous jokes that refer to nudity and such, as well as the classic slow-mo shot on the beach, but it’s done in such a tounge-in-cheek manner that it doesn’t feel all that bad, and actually provides a few good laughs along the way, reinforcing the light-heartedness of the movie as a whole.
Now, where the film falls down is when it comes to the other side of its story: the action/crime one. As pleasant and simple as it is as a summer Hollywood comedy, Baywatch doesn’t impress when it comes to a slightly over-the-top action story, occasionally straying a little too far into what feels like The Fast And The Furious territory instead of keeping things campy and simple.
Sure, the crime plot is predictable from the word go, but the film does keep up a slightly more serious attitude to saving lives, doing what’s right and bringing down the bad guys, and it’s that that often makes this feel like nothing more than an R-rated remake of Thunderbirds, with the beach edition of International Rescue springing into action time and time again on various inconsequential and dull missions.
On the whole, I had a fun time with Baywatch, but I know that it’s not that great in truth. Simple, light-hearted and passable, you’ll have two pleasant hours if you don’t take things too seriously, but don’t expect rib-tickling comedy and proper thrills, because you’re definitely in the wrong place, and that’s why I’m giving Baywatch a 7.0.