At its peak in the mid-1990s, “Baywatch” was the most-watched TV show in the world thanks to its cheesy storylines and showcasing scantily clad ladies (well, plus David Hasselhoff) running in slow motion on the beach.
It wasn’t a great show, but it did the trick if you needed to kill time.
That’s kind of how Paramount’s long-awaited “Baywatch” movie (opening in theatres on Thursday) can be explained. It’s going to be a hell of a watch when it comes on HBO, but you should get your head examined if you pay to watch it at the theatre.
Yes, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the biggest movie star on the planet right now, but even he can’t make this lame comedy into something worth your money — though, to his credit, he tries really, really hard.
Paramount certainly swung for the fences with this. They cast Johnson and Zac Efron together to play two lifeguards who take their jobs way too seriously and try to bust a drug kingpin (“Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra) after her potent product washes up on their beach. It’s not the worst plot for an R-rated comedy (if you took the beach component away, you have the plot for the movie version of “21 Jump Street”). But audiences don’t come to these movies for plot. There need to be big laughs, the wackier the better.
And like The Rock, the movie tries really, really, really hard to deliver a gut-busting comedy (the filmmakers even put Efron in drag), but too much effort can kill humour, and that’s what happens here.
A big problem is the movie doesn’t really go out of its way to offer original material. Low-hanging fruit include distracting the villain by dancing funny; the not-so-bright heartthrob; and jokes about male and female anatomy (the movie even blatantly rips off the zipper scene from “There’s Something About Mary”).
Sure, you might get a chuckle or two, but you have to come stronger in the seen-it-all-before era we live in today.
And there is just some awful CGI. I mean, you have The Rock in your movie, and he’s going to do some crazy life-saving scenes. Why do the boat on fire and the finale set on a firework barge have special effects that seem to come straight out of a “Sharknado” movie?
At its best, “Baywatch” was always going to be a “21 Jump Street” rip-off, but it couldn’t even get to that level.
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