Alexandra Daddario, Baywatch, Cinema, Comedy, David Hasselhoff, Dwayne Johnson, Film, Film Review, Horrible Bosses, Movie, Movie Review, Pamela Anderson, Priyanka Chopra, Seth Gordon, The Rock, Zac Efron
“Baywatch” is a bad film; however, it isn’t bad for the reasons that you might expect. It was never going to win any Oscars – it’s a film about lifeguards taking down a drug smuggling operation after all – but it didn’t necessarily have to be awful, in fact, it had every opportunity to be entertaining within the parameters of its story. Unfortunately, Seth Gordon doesn’t seem to know exactly what he wants this movie to be, and as a result it ends up feeling both hollow and confused.
Gordon’s direction of this film is incredibly bad, to the point where it feels like a series of tonally disconnected scenes with the only consistency being a set of blank-slate characters and an insultingly clichéd story. It’s an unfocused, poorly edited, and boring movie which lacks any semblance of fun, completely misunderstanding the reason why its audience would pay to see it in the first place. It’s not as if people paying to see a movie based on a dated television show were expecting this year’s answer to “Citizen Kane”; they wanted to stuff their faces with popcorn, relax, and enjoy a silly comedy – that’s all they wanted. What they definitely didn’t want, and will probably never want again, was to watch this movie.
Now, before I continue I want to make it clear that prior to seeing this film I was completely open-minded – I loved “Horrible Bosses” which was also directed by Gordon, I like The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) in most of his roles, and in my opinion Zac Efron has the potential to be a great comedic actor. The problem isn’t that this movie wasn’t made for me or that it’s somehow less worthy of praise because of the subject matter that it’s adapting, it’s that it just isn’t very good. The jokes are few and far between and the ones that are there aren’t side-splittingly funny (most of the best scenes are in the trailer), the story is dull and we aren’t given any reason to suspend our disbelief because the narrative is nonsensical and the movie’s tone becomes far too serious as it progresses, and the action sequences are unbelievably lazy.
The crazy thing is that the actors involved in “Baywatch” are all reasonably talented, and despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy the movie I didn’t hate any of the performances. The characters were badly written and the relationships that they developed over the course of the movie felt unearned, but the people playing them were likeable enough to make me route for them in some minimalistic way. This only serves to show just how awful a job the writers and the director did, because they had the tools at their disposal to make a good summer movie, they just didn’t have any clue how to use them.
The only real positive that I could find within this movie’s excessive 116 minute runtime was that at certain points the writers did at least try to inject a sense of playful self-awareness to proceedings, with David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson appearing for (very) minor cameos. This did nothing to save the movie as a whole, but it’s something… I guess.
So, as I established at the start of this review “Baywatch” is a bad movie. The direction, the editing, the pacing, and the writing are all terrible, and the only substantial thing that it has going for it is a set of charismatic actors. The cameos are novel and somewhat entertaining, but they don’t make the film any better because there’s just too much holding it down. “Baywatch” might be a guilty pleasure for some, but personally I don’t have any desire to watch it again and I doubt that I ever will.