In a continuing trend of movies based on old TV shows, we got Baywatch. Some movies based on shows try to be true to their roots (Wayne’s World), some try something new (A-Team), and others parody the source material (Starsky and Hutch). Baywatch is the latter, it keeps the same names and area while throwing in a generous dose of comedy. Studios have been trying to figure out what makes them successful for quite some time, but if studios knew a successful formula we wouldn’t have flops.
I would say Baywatch gets 6 “more dick jokes than boob jokes” out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
Baywatch follows the life guards of Emerald Bay as they are filling three new positions. Lieutenant Mitch Buchanan (Dwane Johnson) heads up the group and oversteps every jurisdiction to protect his beach. New recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron – who is the only other established actor), Summer Quinn, and Ronnie all happen to get to the trainee status right as a criminal enterprise is attempting to take over the area.
When the comedy was going, it was hilarious. Very few jokes missed, a lot of them were low brow, but there are laughs in there for everyone. When the movie opens with Mitch saving a windsurfer and coming out of the water with BAYWATCH rising up at the same time, you will know if it is for you. My wife and I were already laughing, so we were sold. The names Mitch called Brody were probably the highlights and he even made sure to get a High School Musical joke thrown in there.
As with most comedies, a plot gets thrown in and takes too much time to progress without enough laughs thrown in for good measure. I am not saying it was non-stop laughs in the beginning and end with nothing in the middle, it just seemed to be all or nothing. This brings the rewatch value down and takes it from a movie friends would throw on to a movie thrown on for background noise if you already saw it. I cannot think of anything that I could improve in any one area aside from cutting the runtime in general.
As an opposite to the last movie I watched – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Baywatch had more good than bad. It is not a family friendly movie by any means, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that is easily offended. If you can laugh at low brow comedies and enjoy watching The Rock, Zac Efron, or some female eye candy then Baywatch is right up your alley. It isn’t worth rushing out to theatres unless you have a discount theatre nearby.
While it wasn’t the first movie based on a TV show, the best one that comes to mind is 21 Jump Street. Similarly, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum had been in several movies before this one … but it is easily my favorite movie of each of theirs. It was comedy gold throughout and even spawned a fantastic sequel. It is worth finding and watching and can be rewatched multiple times.