The iconic '80s TV show Baywatch was famous for slow-motion beach action, with attractive men and women gathering to look pretty and do some other stuff like save lives. After all, the main draw of the series was never the stellar acting or the intricate plot, but more the bodacious action with good-looking lifeguards doing the unthinkable and being the heroes that save the day. Baywatch 2017 doesn't do much different, but at least it has the sense to recognise that.
After all, early on in the film ex-Olympic swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron) works his way shirtless through an assault course that shows off his impressive physique in slow-motion, and at the end of it all Mitch (Dwayne Johnson) tells him that wasn't even part of his training. The whole film shows this overtly self-aware sexualisation, like when Ronnie (Jon Bass) gets his manhood stuck in a bench after talking to an attractive lifeguard, or when Summer (Alexandra Daddario) bounces up and down in a swimsuit to 'test' Matt Brody as to whether he'd check her out.
There is a plot though, in some shape or form. Drugs are washing up on the beach, and Mitch and his crew must work out what's happening and kick some ass while doing so, despite being told (again, self-awarely) that this isn't actually their job but that of the police. And to be fair, the police do have a very good point, because their lifeguard duties don't extend to solving crimes and vigilante justice after all.
It's a comedy film though, so this plot is only really a thread for the rest of the film to follow while we see Johnson call Efron names like 'High School Musical' and 'Nsync'; Bass try to impress fellow lifeguard CJ (Kelly Rohrbach); and Matt try to change himself and become more than just an Olympic disgrace. There's plenty of toilet humour and slapstick throughout the whole film, and considering it never takes itself too seriously, this all works.
That said, it all feels very inconsequential. The plot is so ludicrous that you know nothing will go wrong, as the heroes will obviously save the day, but the comedy isn't hilarious enough to justify its over-the-top nature. As such you're left with this rather throwaway mess that neither reinvents the franchise nor satirises it enough to give it a hilarious spin - it's always threatening to get there, but never does.
Although it's pretty throwaway, for the (slightly too long) two hours it's with you it'll be a laugh and a wild ride of attractive people swimming and fighting their way to justice. Just don't expect to be remembering this for years to come, as it's not got quite the same cult status as David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson's had in the good old days.
Loading next content