Film Review: Baywatch (2017)

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
May 29th, 2017

Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Baywatch (2017)
Price:
Good

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On May 29, 2017
Last modified:May 29, 2017

Summary:

It’s not the best comedy in years, but at least Baywatch (2017) respects the source material; adding twists to the adaptation. Blending a murder mystery and comedy, Seth Gordon has made a fun adventure with swimsuits.

Review of: Baywatch (2017)
Price:
Good

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On May 29, 2017
Last modified:May 29, 2017

Summary:

It’s not the best comedy in years, but at least Baywatch (2017) respects the source material; adding twists to the adaptation. Blending a murder mystery and comedy, Seth Gordon has made a fun adventure with swimsuits.

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Baywatch (1980) is one of the most-watched television shows ever created, serving up 11 seasons of slow-motion runs in swimwear. A movie adaptation is a no-brainer from Hollywood, due to the brand awareness. But does it stand apart in an overcrowded comedy genre? Find out as ComiConverse film critic, Jordan Samuel, reviews the Bay.

Film Review: Baywatch (2017)

Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Mitch Buchannon, the gung-ho leader of the elite Baywatch lifeguard squad, clashes with recruit Matt Brody, a washed-up pro athlete brought in as the new face of the organization. However, when a dead body is recovered from the ocean, the two must put aside their personal differences and work with their team to stop a criminal mastermind's drug trafficking operation

Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) is a relativity unknown director, who has been making comedies for years, with run-of-the-mill results.

Gordon’s recent work Identity Thief (2013) completely flopped critically - failing to create laughs with a great cast being sidelined for dated gimmicks. Paramount announced last year Seth Gordon would direct a Baywatch (1980) movie adaptation starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. Casting got me excited for the movie, due to the charisma Dwayne Johnson (Fate of the Furious) brings into roles – and the crime aspect added into the mix.

21 Jump Street comparisons are all around, as the films are based on canceled TV programs - with comedy elements being added instead of the tired formulaic shows. Baywatch has many big-name actors in swimming suits, but does it float ashore? 

Baywatch (2017) is the best comedy of the year - which might not be saying much, as it brings plenty laughs and with a varied cast.

Story continues below

Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) brings out the best in these actors - introducing lovely characters who could hold a potential franchise. The story elements, while not being fresh, feels like a respectable take on the dated TV series; it may not reinvent comedies, but it gives it a needed facelift. Baywatch (2017) relies on smart and snappy comedy with banter dropping from each line - being focused on character interaction than mindless physically jokes.

Plot beats here revolve around the Miami lifeguard crew getting involved in a beach-side murder mystery, as Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson) and Zac Efron, unite the crew in trying to solve the strange situation.

It all sounds generic, but it works in the movie's contexts as these beautiful and handsome crew members try to solve something for a change, after being shunned by the police services. Baywatch (1980) made David Hasselhoff into a household name (along with Pamela Anderson); becoming a driving force in the series that focused on women and men in tight bathing suits. 2017 brings us superstar Dwayne Johnson in Hasselhoff’s old role.

Dwayne Johnson (Fate of the Furious) plays Mitch Buchanan, a Baywatch captain who is introduced to us by saving a swimmer at the shore, but his luck is cut short when a body ends up on the beach-side. Johnson brings us his magnetic personality in boatloads, as the comedic backbone of the actor is tested.  The banter comes across genuine on screen.

Buchanon is a stereotypical tough guy, but his heart and love for the job makes him a treat to see. Dwayne Johnson gives a modern take with twists thrown in. I could see the franchise building around new adventures with the bold lifeguard and his friends.

Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Zac Efron (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) is Matt Brody, the disgraced Olympian that joins Miami’s lifeguard squad as their PR opportunity to restore faith in the team. Brody is the butt of jokes throughout the 2-hour runtime, as Seth Gordon does a fantastic job, adding a quirk to the roster with someone who is truly bad at their job.

Zac Efron eats up these sequences, with great dialogue delivery and banter. While he's not on Dwayne Johnson's level, he gives us a decent performance.

Alexandra Daddario (True Detective) plays Summer Quinn the romantic interest for Matt Brody, her presence is small but I appreciated the witty screen time with Zac EfronDaddario flexes his comedic muscles, though with varied results – often coming across disinterested in the role, with his scenes being awkward on occasion.

Seth Gordon relies heavily on sex appeal with Alexandra Daddario, which limits her potential development outside being the love interest. I would have preferred a more down-to-earth performance, because she adding nothing to the team.

The other cast members (Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, Ilfenesh Hadera) aren’t used in the best light either, getting sidelined by Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron’s performances. They do a respectable job in fleshing out the Baywatch, but Seth Gordon does not give us a reason to care about them.

Story continues below

Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Priyanka Chopra (xXx: Return of Xander Cage) plays Victoria Leeds, the owner of the Huntley Club, who is suspected of selling drugs from the business. Chopra makes a solid villain on screen, the dynamic between her and the Baywatch crew is so fun to see unfold on the big screen. Issues here stem from her thick accent, which sometimes can be hard to follow, but Seth Gordon gives her great material. I love each banter-filled sequence between Priyanka Chopra and Dwayne Johnson, which was needed to round-out the comedic tone

Baywatch has a decent story which feels, at points, like a buddy-cop romp, only with beach dudes and babes instead of the generic cop formula. It lacks originality, but the pleasurable sensations makes up for that. Just don’t expect world-shattering storytelling.

It’s not the best comedy in years, but at least Baywatch (2017) respects the source material, adding twists to a modern adaptation. Blending the visuals of a summer beachside resort into one murder/comedy, Seth Gordon has made a fun adventure with swimsuits.

 

Baywatch (2017)

  • 4

Good

It’s not the best comedy in years, but at least Baywatch (2017) respects the source material; adding twists to the adaptation. Blending a murder mystery and comedy, Seth Gordon has made a fun adventure with swimsuits.

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