New Baywatch film: Stupid, simple and sexist but some will like it

Baywatch
Baywatch

BAYWATCH (15)

SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: DWAYNE JOHNSON, ZAC EFRON, ALEXANDRA DADDARIO, KELLY ROHRBACH, PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JON BASS, ILFENESH HADERA, PAMELA ANDERSON & DAVID HASSELHOFF

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 56 MINS

DIRECTOR: SETH GORDON

Does Baywatch sink like a Rock? Well depending what you’re after it either falls to the bottom or rises to the surface.

I usually try to stay away from film reviews before writing one myself, mostly because I worry that I may be swayed towards a particular view – but reviews for Baywatch have been hard to avoid.

With most critics giving the big-screen remake of the popular nineties television series overwhelmingly negative reviews it has created an online debate, with Dwayne Johnson – who stars in the film – even been hitting back on his Twitter account, Tweeting, ‘Oh boy, critics had their venom & knives ready. Fans LOVE the movie. Huge positive scores. Big disconnect with critics & people.’

And as a fan and a critic, I was intrigued as to how I would feel about the movie.

Baywatch tells the story of super-lifeguard Mitch (Johnson) who has saved over 500 victims during his time on the beach.

Along with his team – which consists of Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera), C.J. (Kelly Rohrbach), Summer (Alexandra Daddario), Ronnie (Jon Bass) and disgraced Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron) – Mitch investigates the rise of drug activity on his turf.

The deeper the Baywatch crew dig, the more they realise a much deadlier operation is taking place around them. Despite Matt saying on numerous occasions: “Is this not a job for the police?” they take it upon themselves to save the day.

But here’s the big question: is the film any good? Actually, it’s not that bad – but it’s definitely not great.

I can see why so many critics are panning Baywatch. It’s stupid, the plot is simple – and it’s sexist. Here’s the thing . . . some people are going to love the fact that it’s stupid, the plot is simple and it’s sexist. And the film is proudly self-aware that it is these things.

Other people may also be upset by the tone of the film. Yes, the television series was tongue-in-cheek but it was also played fairly straight, unlike this feature-length version. Unsurprisingly (given the fact that it’s directed by Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses helmer Seth Gordon) here we have a balls-out comedy – and I mean ‘balls-out’ in a literal sense.

If ‘genitalia’ gags are your thing (and there are many), then this is definitely the film for you – and of course there’s nothing wrong with that if that is your bag. Sometimes it’s good to switch off your brain – and if you can do so, you may just get a kick out of this return to the Bay.

Rating: 2.5/5 - Mikey Clarke