Baywatch – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Baywatch –  2/5 – Television shows that get made into movies are something that has been done frequently as of recent.  You never know how well the translation will be.  For all the average adaptations (The A Team, Charles Angels), there is always that one that stands out from the crowd (21 and 22 Jump Street).  At the start, this film seemed like a promising feature.  With a lot of comical moments and an amazing lead, Baywatch still falters at many things.  For all that could have been great, it never lives up to the hype.  Baywatch is a lackluster comedy that fails to capture that unique spark that made the TV show memorable.

Premise:  A film adaptation of the television series, Baywatch.

The acting list is a plethora of many names.  At the forefront are:

Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon

Zac Efron as Matt Brody

These two do a decent job in providing odd/off-the-wall characters.  In their roles, they provide the central figures for story.  They also are the two that provide the ‘better’ comedic moments on screen.  For all the toilet, slapstick and goofy elements used, these two do a good job at adding an entertaining shtick.  At times, their acting might seem contradictory within the tone of the story, but they are always believable and funny.  Another great value is their comradery.  These two have amazing chemistry on screen.  From the witty like dialogue to the randomness of their interaction, it feels like two ‘bros’ just trying to get along on a famous beach.  For the rest of the cast, you can refer to the IMDb page.  The ancillary and background characters don’t add any real value to story.  They are the basic archetypes you find in these kinds of comedies.  All they do is provide that continual repetitive banter to add some odd element to the plot.  The one-dimensional aspect can become dry and boring, but it never goes into the realm of irritation.

The direction goes ‘by-the-book’ for a R-Rated comedy:

  1. Basic introductory to cast members
  2. ‘MacGuffin’ plot elements to drive cast in a linear directive
  3. Add in aspects of toilet, slapstick and raunchy humor
  4. Provide some ironic and predictable motives
  5. Telegraph ending of ‘good cast prevails’

The direction never strays too far from this generic outline.  The different element to this tired formula is the added flavor of the ‘Baywatch’ brand.  Even with the name brand, the director never captures the parody setup it intended to do.  You get introduced to the leader of the Baywatch crew (Mitch), who is recruiting new members.  Here, there is that ‘off-the-cuff’ character (Matt Brody) who is positioned on the team (plot point).  After this intro, the rest of the film flows through scenarios of redundant raunchy humor.  There are times when the use of toilet/slapstick provides unique situations, but the constant rehashing of the same joke dries out any kind of real ‘laughable’ moment.  The tired formula may dry the entertainment, but it is the dynamic between Mitch and Matt and them trying to ‘solve the mystery’ of the beach that keeps you going.  There is a sense of gravitas that draws out the satirical nature with these two characters, but it never leads to something promising.  Once you get through all the rambunctious situations and scenarios of the first act, you end up at a stylistic crossroads for the Baywatch crew in the second act.  The story touts some dramatic moments.  Even when this happens, there is never a sense of cohesiveness with the tone.  This creates odd outcomes when the ‘drama’ and ‘comedy’ are forced together.  Once this fragmented aspect unfolds, you head into a third act that sows up everything into a focused narrative.  There is a mixture of obnoxious dialogue, over-the-top action and the outrageous spectacle of ‘defeating the enemy’.  Once you get to the ending, it is a relief to see some semblance of a story, but feel like there was a lot more that could have been entertaining.

The visuals are as expected.  With this being based on the TV show Baywatch, you get to see the aspect of a beach.  There isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it is appreciated to keep the ‘world’ grounded.  The score is mute at best.  The music does not have a big part in the story, characters or visual appeal.

Baywatch is filled with a lot of promising appeal, but just falls flat at so many things.  For all its worth, it is the characters of Mitch and Matt that keep you entertained throughout the whole story.  If you’re a fan of the series or some of the actors/actresses, you can check it out.  I would recommend this as a rental at home.

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