Ever since the first trailer was released, Baywatch has always been self-aware. The wind in a golden-blondes hair as she runs down the beach (obviously in slow motion) in the iconic red bathing suit is an image the new reboot has embraced, but it doesn’t fare well in a feature length film.
To put it bluntly, Baywatch is 21 Jump Street: Beach Edition. As in the vein of 90s television reboots; it’s a swearing, violence, spray tanned and toned body filled fun-fest made for a cheap laugh on a night out.
The only strength to carry the film is the buddy pair-up of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, as “King of the Beach” Mitch Buchannon and troubled swimming star Matt Brody, respectively. Johnson’s running gag of insulting Efron’s boy band looks are entertaining for the first half of the film, but as with most of the jokes, they do get old quickly. With both having an extensive background in comedy, their individual styles and performance are nothing we haven’t seen before.
Jon Bass is next best entertainer out of the Baywatchers as Ronnie, the typical only-here-for-comedic-effect nerdy tech guy with a heart of gold, and Kelly Rohrbach carries on baton Pamela Anderson set as the blonde beauty, C.J Parker. Alexandra Daddario didn’t deliver anything special, but was still entertaining enough as girl-next-door type Summer Quinn, and Priyanka Chopra was nothing but a typical, business-only antagonist.
Director Seth Gordon‘s (Horrible Bosses, The Hangover) affinity for penis jokes is prevalent from the opening scene and although a funny sequence involving Bass’ Ronnie, it extends into grotesque by the middle of the film when dead body parts are involved.
Although already known, the cameos of the original Baywatch alums David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson are present, but are definitely not worth the credit billing.
Overall, Baywatch is a long movie with recycled jokes and plot points we know all too well. It may not as smart as 21 Jump Street, but still satisfying enough to watch if you’re in the mood for an attempt at envelop-pushing, meta and mind-numbing humour. It’s all beaches and balls with not enough ingenuity to play it off well.
Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Baywatch is in cinemas on Thursday 1st of June and is distributed by Paramount Pictures.