Baywatch was a cream-filled pastry in the dinner menu of network TV. It existed only for exposing hard bodies and soft curves with a sweet summer tan. But now, there is no better way to have a movie based on the TV series. Just have the same focus on the brawn and the bodies, and the tanned cleavage starring right back at you. Nothing serious, just a “Baywatch” extended episode with the hard-R raunchiness factor turned way up.
“Baywatch” is now led by a bulked-up head lifeguard named Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson). He has new recruits for the summer, and one of them is former (but now disgraced) Olympic gold-winner swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Brody was forced on Mitch by his boss, because the team needed ‘star power’. The other recruits are Summer (Alexandra Daddario) and Ronnie (Jon Bass). They join other Baywatch members, including Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera) and C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach).
Mitch is pleased to just save lives on the beach and getting people to behave. But there is a mysterious drug trade popping up, and Mitch thinks he knows who is behind it all. A new woman who has just taken over a fancy club is named Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra). She has money and influence with the city council. But Mitch believes she is behind a growing conspiracy to take over with drug running.
Soon a councilman dies out on a party boat, and Mitch and his team are skeptical of the ‘official’ explanation. Mitch and Matt continue to dig into what happened. The other team members including Summer and C.J. are investigating the situation. Ronnie finds out that someone he knew was been found dead from a shark attack. But this guy had been working for Leeds at her club, and the guy could not even swim. Something is fishy, and it ain’t the fish.
Mitch’s boss tells him to cool it, and the local police do not want his help. But Mitch has latched on to something and he will not let go. He even gets a visit from someone who first taught Mitch everything about being leader of Baywatch. It is The Mentor (David Hasselhoff). When everyone on his team seems to be in trouble, it is Mitch to the rescue.
This version of “Baywatch” is pretty much like the TV series. It has no reason for you to take it seriously. There are plenty of hard bodies on display, and many tanned bosoms. But as far as plot or story line, well, that went out with the tide. When the movie attempts to get into an actual plot, it tends to drown out all the comedy. And when it goes for the funny parts, it sometimes gets too dirty and gritty. Like too much sand in your swimsuit. When you have six different people working out the story and script, the result is like Memorial Day size crowds on the beach, you cannot find one spot and stick to it.
All of the actors seem to be having a great time. Dwayne Johnson is amazing to watch, everything he does seems so natural and easy. He looks relaxed and in control. Zac Efron is an asset to every scene he is in. He has such a clueless look and winning smile that you can’t help but root for him. Alexandra Daddario does a fine job, and she does some nice comedy bits. Kelly Rohrbach just oozes out sex appeal and beauty. But Jon Bass does some classic fun stuff in his role, being a ‘fish out of water’ type, right next to the beach.
If this movie had the focus of the movie version of “21 Jump Street” and really went all out into the ‘hey, this is something so dumb it seems like it could be from a TV show’, then this might be a classic. But it did not go in that direction, and this movie will be nothing more than a sand castle built on the beach at low tide. It’s here today, and tomorrow gone.