‘Baywatch’ Blu-ray Review: Silly Remake Of Classic TV Show Is Over-The-Top
If you’re seeking a dumb comedy that offers unoriginally raunchy humor and oddly interspersed action, look no further: Baywatch features both.
This adaptation from Paramount Pictures of the classic 90’s beach-set TV series is directed by Seth Gordon (Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief) and tells a far-fetched tale of an eclectic band of lifeguards who set out to solve a series of crimes that have befallen the area surrounding Emerald Bay, Florida.
Muscular and acerbic Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) seems perfectly content working as the head lifeguard at his beach, commanding veterans like the gorgeous bombshell C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) and recently hired recruits like take-no-nonsense confident girl Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and awkward computer nerd Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass). However, a cocky, superficial and disgraced gold-medal-winning former Olympic swimmer named Matt Brody (Zac Efron) soon joins the Baywatch lifeguard squad and Buchannon takes him under his wing, much to his annoyance.
When Mitch begins noticing a proliferation of drugs on the beach — coupled with a series of cadavers that begin to wash ashore — he enlists his ragtag group of lifeguards to help solve a series of murders, drug-busing operations and corrupt acts all tied to a local wealthy businesswoman named Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra).
Most of the sexual — or otherwise crude or dark — jokes delivered in Baywatch seem overplayed and forced, and Johnson’s heroics — and seeming imperviousness to any kind of physical pain — appear so exaggerated and cartoonish that the film might as well have been made into… well, a cartoon.
Though Chopra plays the villain with an acceptable and plausible level of Machiavellian sociopathy infused with a bit of charm, her character is not fleshed out as much as one would like, and the plot is so preposterous that it feels like it would be more appropriate for a buddy-cop comedy than a film about lifeguards who attempt to become unofficial detectives and secret agents.
Of course, the appeal of the original series was much more centered around the sexy women in bathing suits running in slo-mo than around the plot, but still: a bit more of an effort could have been made to weave a slightly-less-ridiculous story and ending in particular.
David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson both have cameos, although even those scenes seem very cliche and pointless.
Arguably one of the few redeeming aspects of Baywatch is the constant exchanging of verbal jabs between Johnson and Efron. The former’s repeated comparison of the latter to a boy-band member or Ken doll or other superficial and dashing male celebrity does admittedly induce some chuckles, especially when Efron does not manage to come up with an equally-witty retort and just becomes increasingly angrier for taking all the crap — almost quite literally sometimes.
The Blu-ray’s special features include a segment called “Meet the Lifeguards,” which presents further information about each of the protagonists, and a clip called “Continuing the Legacy,” which explains which elements of the original TV show were retained in the film. Also included are a behind-the-scenes look at the cast’s training for stunts and other big physical scenes from the movie, as well as a series of deleted or extended scenes.
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