‘Baywatch’ Review Roundup: Lazy Writing & Immature Jokes Taint Failed Reboot
The Baywatch film reboot starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron is getting panned by critics. The film, directed by Seth Gordon, follows Johnson as devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon as he attempts to train the cocky newbie Matt Brody (Efron). The film makes the most out of its R rating, with a lot of crude language, sexual content and nudity.
The lifeguards, along with their overly-sexualized, under-intellectual female counterparts, have to stop the evil (and of course gorgeous) Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) from taking over the coastline to create a new resort. The over-complicated plot, combined with the movie’s immature jokes and borderline anti-feminist depictions of women earned Baywatch a whopping 19% on Rottentomatoes.
BAYWATCH REVIEW ROUNDUP
“Johnson, who had a solid comedic turn in 2016’s Central Intelligence opposite Kevin Hart, does his best in a one-dimensional role as Buchannon but is hampered by his juvenile dialogue. Efron is the strongest member of the cast; he plays Brody with a Ryan Lochte-like level of obtuse narcissism and smarm. The part, though, is not a great challenge for Efron, who has played perhaps one too many frat bros for an actor who is innately talented. At least the leading men get some sort of life raft on which to float. The female protagonists—played by Kelly Rohrbach, Alexandra Daddario and Ilfenesh Hadera—are paper thin characters with little to differentiate them than the male character they are paired with. Chopra’s big bad, Victoria Leeds, meanwhile, is a painfully dated caricature: the glamorous, wealthy villain who uses her feminine wiles to enact her master plan while hired meatheads do the grunt work. This antiquated depiction of women in 2017 is inexcusable.
Baywatch fans of the 1990s may get a thrill out of hearing that famous theme music, or seeing David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson in shoehorned cameos. But this is rather a cautionary tale. Sometimes things are better left in the past. Not even Zac Efron’s abs can distract us from the fact that we are treading in shallow, shallow waters.”
–Tufayel Ahmed, Newsweek
“The waterlogged end product is an example of lazy writing and direction with the vague hope that perhaps the involvement of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will attract viewers. Regardless of whether Baywatch generates sufficient interest to make it profitable, it represents the summer of 2017’s first genuinely awful high-profile box office challenger… One key flaw is common in would be action/comedies: too much plot. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if the material was compelling but it’s not. It’s a standard order story about a rich villain with megalomaniacal tendencies (the uber-sexy Victoria Leeds, played by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra) trying to buy all the coastal land to create a private resort… Viewed as no more than a high-profile summer release, however, it disappoints in almost every way, not succeeding at anything it tries and boring audiences in the process. More than lifeguards in spandex are needed to resuscitate this beached whale.”
–James Berardinelli, www.reelviews.net
“Back in 2015, Dwayne Johnson joked on Saturday Night Live about being “franchise viagra…” And if you’re just there for the boobs, pecs, abs and like the idea of Zac Efron fondling a dead guy’s penis, then I guess it’s mission accomplished. But if you’re expecting anything more than a desperate grasp for laughs, then The Rock better pop another viagra pill.
–Mark Daniell, The Toronto Sun
“But while this Mitch may vault the franchise forward, Baywatch has kept its voyeuristic appeal safely back in the Stone Age. Johnson’s female co-stars – Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera and Alexandra Daddario – are never seen without a yard of exposed cleavage. I’m not sure what is more unbelievable – that professional lifeguards execute multiple near-impossible rescues every day or that the female guards can do it without proper bras…. The last thing that must be said about Baywatch – and this really is its saving grace – is that this movie never takes itself seriously. As it giggles away at its campy self, at least you can groan along with it.”
–Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail