“Sounds like an entertaining but far-fetched TV show”. These were the words of Zac Efron’s character Matt Brody and while the statement showed director, Seth Gordon’s, obvious self awareness you can’t help but agree with the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
It’s not often that you leave the cinema simultaneously thinking that you have wasted two hours of your life and wondering if any of your other friends want to see it so you have an excuse to go back and stare at the ludicrously good looking cast.
It’s utterly awful and brilliant at the same time; its immaturity is matched by the clever one liners, its flawed plot is matched by the huge action scenes and the sometimes underwhelming acting is outweighed by the spectacular location and brilliant soundtrack.
Dwayne Johnson – the highest paid actor in the world – takes the lead as Mitch and throws his sizable 6ft 5 frame into the role. It’s hard to believe that he actually slimmed down for the part in order not to dwarf Efron, who himself got in incredible shape to co-star as a disgraced Olympic swimmer, turned lifeguard.
The script is horrifically cliched at points but with the Rock as its foundations the plot stumbles along, with the criminally underused Priyanka Chopra playing the role of Bond villain. You get the feeling she would have been stroking a cat had a majority of the scenes not been shot over water.
The female leads are portrayed by Alex Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach and Ilfenesh Hadera. All impossibly attractive and well accustomed to the slow motion button. David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson make cameo appearances reprising their roles as Mitch and Casey Jean Parker from the hit TV series, but any nostalgia was lost on me as it was sadly, as they say, before my time.
I would recommend seeing this film simply for the title drop, it features Johnson producing a heroic bit of life guarding, saving a wind surfer, who crashed into some rocks, from certain death. Then as he’s walking out the sea cradling the stricken surfer in his obscenely muscled arms the word ‘Baywatch’ slams into the ocean behind him in massive red letters causing huge waves and dolphins to be catapulted into the air, it’s something only Johnson himself could have come up with and it works gloriously even if it does resemble a primary school clip art project.
It’s the 21st century and we should be more refined than wanting to see beautiful people running along a gorgeous shoreline making immature jokes and getting involved in seriously contrived crimes.
However, it remains stupidly entertaining. A film that must be enjoyed while binging on junk food and you will, like me, probably feel guilty while watching it but it’s unfiltered escapism at its absolute best, and we all need a bit of that every now and again.
Rating – 3/5