Where do you start with a film like Baywatch? A modern day cinematic adaptation of a much-loved, but clichéd TV show from the 90s, it was always going to be a bit of a joke, but it does its best to embrace it all by taking things to the extreme and throwing in a little self deprecating wit. It doesn’t get the balance quite right, with a few duff sequences, but you can’t fault its efforts to entertain.
It’s easily in the top ten, at least, of silly films released this year that put a smile on your face. Obviously, it’s not been made with serious cinemafiles in mind, so if you take your films seriously then you’re going to hate it. However, if you’re just looking for a few laughs, a little nostalgia and the sight of some ridiculously good looking people running around on the beach then you’re in luck.
The story doesn’t really attempt to require too much in the way of thought process, so you can literally turn up, tune in and relax like you’ve just been hit in the synapses by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Essentially, you can boil it all down to a few simple words – lifeguards, criminals and bathing costumes – and with that you’ve pretty much got the gist of things.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson leads the cast as the new Mitch Buchanan, dragging his team of lifeguards and trainee recruits along for the ridiculously above and beyond the call of duty adventure. He’s as over-the-top as you’d expect and with Zach Efron as his fall-guy, Matt Brody, it gets very silly.
Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadara and Jon Bass complete the cast as Summer Quinn, C.J. Parker, Stephanie Holden and joker recruit Ronnie. They all contribute in their own way to the onslaught of cleavage, codpiece comedy and self-deprecation that makes the film what it is. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) has some funny lines too as local beat cop, Garner Ellerbee.
Cinematography doesn’t really come into it and the stunts are as wildly outlandish as the concept, so expect as much humour in their delivery as serious action. The only real special effects used in Baywatch are to cover up the stuntmen, which it fails to do, turning into a spot the fake game as you watch the film.
Yes, this is a bad movie, but it nearly gets to the holy grail of being so bad that it’s good. Baywatch (2017) doesn’t set out to be anything other than a tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top, balls-in-a-deckchair nod to the original and its self awareness just about carries through. There are some chuckles along the way, and just as much eye candy as the TV show. It’s not going to get too high a review score from anyone, and other critics have been much more cutting, but it was a good laugh to watch.
Baywatch (2017) review: 3/5