2017-06-07 / Arts and Entertainment

'Baywatch' reboot makes a bad story worse


PARAMOUNT PICTURES PARAMOUNT PICTURES Do you remember what you were watching in during the 90s?

Was “Baywatch” on that list for you?

It most certainly was not for me, and Baywatch ran from 1989 to 2001. In that 10-year span I never watched a single episode. Being completely honest, I stayed away from shows my parents watched and “Baywatch” was one of them, along with “Walker Texas Ranger.”

I did dislike the latter far more and the closest I got to any show like either of them was a show called “Touching Evil,” and that was because it was on the same channel.

“Baywatch” is one of those shows that you feel like you know and have seen, even if you have never actually seen it. Why? Slow-motion running.

Everyone remembers that one aspect of the show and it makes you feel like you have seen the actual show, when maybe all you ever saw was a commercial or another show poking fun at it, as many have since 1989.

Now it has been remade into a movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron.

The original theme song says “I’ll be ready,” but it begs the question — was anyone actually ready for this version of “Baywatch?”

The movie starts with Matt Brody (Efron) a former Olympic gold medal winning swimmer looking to join the elite team of lifeguards led by Mitch Buchannon (The Rock). Brody thinks he's a shoo-in, but his casual attitude starts to instantly rub Mitch the wrong way.

Enter a shady resort owner Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) who poses a threat to the bay, the Baywatch team must ban together to bring her down.

“Baywatch” has a very basic story. Then, as if it is trying to top itself in stupidity, the jokes start.

For anyone wondering or looking specifically for it, yes there are slow-motion running montages. I am not sure you would notice though as the movie in its entirety seems to play out in slow-motion.

Efron has been rather good in comedy roles in films like “Dirty Grandpa,” both “Neighbors” movies, and the underrated “Mike and Dave need wedding dates.” In “Baywatch” Efron’s Brody is the butt of every juvenile “Hey High School Musical” joke.

Getting the villain right in any move is half the battle, and a failure for most movies. In “Baywatch” though, they get it right with the devil in a green dress Priyanka Chopra.

Chopra is fantastic as the opportunistic and murderous Victoria Leeds. Chopra is so good, in fact, I want her as the next Bond villain — weird thing to say of a “Baywatch” movie but, I believe it is very apropos

Efron being the butt, Chopra being the best of, then what is the worst part of “Baywatch?” The Rock.

Johnson puts forth his worst on screen effort that I can remember, well at least since his very first wrestling persona Rocky Maivia. The Maivia character may be looked upon fondly now that he is “The Rock,” but back in 1996 his character was cheezy and universally hated.

Johnson brings back the cheese from Maivia and throws in an acting performance that feels like the filmmakers would have been better off sticking with a 64-year-old David Hasselhoff.

At the very least it would have saved us from a scene I actually thought made me dumber, and that is the “I’m the better Mitch Buchanon, No I’m the better Mitch Buchanon” scene.

Essentially I would recommend “Baywatch” to no one. I felt like it was a waste of my time and I can say it will probably be a waste of yours, sans the few who will like it.

Simplifying an already simple movie is hard, but If I were pressed into explaining my opinion of “Baywatch” in the simplest possible terms, then I would choose just two words — beach sand.

Or in other words, decomposed rock.


Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the Graphics Department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at guyerj@eagletimes.com

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