Still on a high from the smart and clever 21 Jump Street & 22 Jump Street. The trailer to Seth Gordon’s Baywatch gave the impression that the duo of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zach Efron would bring the same chemistry and hilarity as Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill brought to the screen. Sadly, that same magic on adapting the beloved over the top series Baywatch TV Series fell short of becoming a possible franchise. I really wanted this movie to work.
Taking the role of David Hasselhoff’s Baywatch character of Mitch Buchannon is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who is the Lieutenant of a team of lifeguards who are holding tryouts for new recruits to join the team. During tryouts comes the new trainees Summer (Alexandra Daddario) and Ronnie (Jon Bass) as well as Matt Brody (Zac Efron) who is just fresh from the walk of Shame GoT (Game of Thrones) style after winning two Olympic gold metals. Once the team assembles they stumble onto a drug trade that is being distributed on the Bay and they are not having it. Of course instead of letting the police handle it, the easiest thing to do is to solve the crime themselves. Hijinks ensues.
I really wanted this movie to work. I was prepared to go in here and see some great sequences, some hot bodies, and some funny laugh out loud moments. This movie however just didn’t live up to its potential. There were a lot of mistakes made in the film that just weren’t funny or necessary but before I get to that I want to start with the good that you might enjoy from the film. For me the best thing about this movie are the ladies of Baywatch.
Each with their own unique presence on-screen they worked so well in their own solo scenes as well as with the rest of the cast. Stephanie with her tough leadership persona was an equal in command with Mitch. Cj with her slow-mo run made famously on the series by Pamela Anderson as well as her interaction with Ronnie, who is also pretty hilarious in the movie who has a “There’s something about Mary” moment, and newbie Summer was no damsel in distress or brought on only to make googly eyes at Matt Brody. Each of them held their on land and in the water. All three pretty entertaining to watch and sometimes were scene stealers.
Also the antagonist of the film, Victoria Leeds, played by Priyanka Chopra (TV’s “Quantico”) who with the role given to her was decent. It would have been nice to see her brawl with one of the other females in the movie but i think her role was to play a villain that didn’t have to lift a finger while getting shit done. Chopra brought an old school vibe to her character having her minions handle all the dirty work while she presents this bond like expectation that she can take off and believe everything will be fine. She does it so many times in the film and continues to be disappointed but continues to do it each time she has the upper hand. She also had some of the smartest lines in the film. It was her task in this movie to show that a woman can be just as bad ass as a villain as any man. A scene where Zac Efron’s Mike Brody calls her crazy, her response is, “If I were a man, you would say I have ambition.”
Now onto the bad things in the film and its very bad. The two main characters who had the perfect beach bod worthy of the Bay didn’t have much chemistry to bring the laughs. Not to say they didn’t work well together but their screen time didn’t provoke much laughter to its audience. Especially with my audience, most of the jokes bombed. Mitch calling Matt Brody every boy band and white blond/blue celebrity in the game was a chuckle at best run-on joke throughout the film but the rest just didn’t make sense. Also some of the antics of them going “undercover” and in disguise to gain more evidence just didn’t work or even become relevant for the scene.
In particular, sneaking back into a Kitchen of a restaurant of a club where they believe shady business is going down, Matt figured the best disguise to go back into a kitchen only employees are allowed is to dress in women’s clothing to play as a lady who may or may not be a part of the club. Again, what was the point and who wouldn’t recognize this built man trying to pose as a women. Just because you see a big buff dude dressed up as a woman is not comedy gold. The shock value didn’t work in this situation and he didn’t even interact with anyone to use the disguise in full force. I have no problem with either Johnson or Efron. I think they are both effective actors. I love Efron in Neighbors, one of my favorite movies of 2014 and Johnson is a comedic force in movies like Central Intelligence and Get Smart. Together and in this film just didn’t work for me.
With that being said, I think that really sums up the problem with this movie. I think the writers and Gordon forgot that they were making a movie and not just a skit comedy special that wouldn’t even make it onto “SNL”. It didn’t seem like there was a movie here it was just scene after scene trying to be as funny as the previous. I heard a lot of disappointment from others saying that it was nothing but dick and butt jokes throughout the whole movie. Yes, there were a handful of them throughout the film but nothing as offensive or repulsive that was used in movies like Bad Grandpa or Get Hard.
I will admit, I did laugh out loud in this film. More than once actually and the movie kept my attention the whole time but do they have a success story here, unfortunately not. I can’t say that it will be everyone’s best interest to spend the price a movie ticket to see there right away. Especially with the success of the 21 Jump Street movies that came first, this movie had a lot to live up to. As a stand alone movie, it just wasn’t funny enough. I have no problem with TV to Film adaptations, I somewhat enjoyed A-Team and wouldn’t have mind a sequel to that also. Movies like The Brady Bunch and The Addams Family movies knew exactly how to take what made the show so great and remind us why we liked them so much and expanding that for a wider audience adding more depth and reason to watch them more than the asked thirty mins they would run on TV. If you like a lot of silly scenes and want some eye candy from both men and women in the film. Check it out. There are a couple of cameos in the film that you may get a kick out of but those moments are far and few between. For entertainment purposes I give it a…..
2 out of 5