My boy Brandon saw Baywatch right before it came out and when I asked him what he thought he did not give me anywhere near a glowing review.  The reviews came out and they were pretty bad as well.  The movie was getting comparisons to The Brady Bunch Movie in terms of how you redo an old television but have it updated and funny.  I was bummed.  I thought the trailer was funny.

I kept a look out on how it was doing at the box office and it was pretty much a crash and burn situation.  It’s so weird because Dwayne Johnson can usually sell a film.  The guy oozes charisma.  While I never really watched the original Baywatch TV show I was actually interested in the movie, especially since it filmed in my favorite city in the entire world: Savannah, Georgia. On a whim I looked up the flick on Wikipedia and saw that Seth Gordon directed it.  Gordon has directed some great films but he directed one of my all time favorite docs in The King of Kong.  Then I saw that the film’s story was partly co-written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant – the minds behind Reno 911.

I love my comedies.  Spaceballs.  Beerfest.  Super Troopers.  Baseketball.  My list can go on and on.  So I made the decision.  Let me go pay my money and go see for myself if Baywatch was good or bad.

Verdict?  It was enjoyable.  There were some slight problems but I think overall the worst mistake that killed this movie was the marketing.  I believe the marketing killed this movie.

How?  You watch Baywatch’s trailer and you are really expecting some dumb comedy in the vein of Super Troopers.  Many critics decried the film for just not being funny.  HERE’S THE THING, FOLKS.  THIS MOVIE IS NOT A STRAIGHT OUT COMEDY.  I mean there are many comedic moments in this film but it is very tongue in cheek like the 21 Jump Street films.  For some odd reason those films went over big even though it was very *wink*wink*.

So why does 21 Jump and 22 Jump Street get acclaim while Baywatch is treated differently?  Some may say, “Well those movies are just better.”  And I mean that’s fine if that is your opinion.  But when you market a film as a comedy and then all the critics say its an awful comedy you may get the Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron diehards but everyone else may stay away.  And they did.  Shame on you marketing department.  If it is anyone’s fault for this movie’s lack of box office it squarely sits on your shoulders.

The Baywatch group is made up of Mitch Buchannon (Johnson), C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), and Stephanie Holden (Ilfnesh Hadera).  There’s some other lifeguards as well but you barely see them and then have no dialogue.  I guess because the plot dictates that there’s a selection process for a new lifeguard every year there are tryouts being held.  Vying for spots on the Baywatch team are Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and Ronnie (Jon Bass), who is a slightly overweight guy that wants nothing more than being on the Baywatch team.

How does Zac Efron’s Matt Brody fit in?  He’s a fallen Olympic athlete.  Even though he’s won two Olympic medals he’s currently the laughing stock of the swimming community.  He’s brought in as basically a P.R. stunt. The Baywatch team holds the tryouts which kind of look like the shit I did in Basic Training and then three lucky people are picked to join Baywatch: Summer, Ronnie, and, of course, Matt.

There’s a few things here.  #1 the girls are gorgeous.  They have a lot to live up to when you had Erika Eleniak, Nicole Eggert, Pamela Anderson, and Yasmine Bleeth on the original show.  Yes even though I didn’t watch the Baywatch show I know exactly who starred in it because, well, even pre-Internet those hotties were HUGE.  Kelly Rohrbach isn’t as stunning as Pamela Anderson, but her chest is front and center in most scenes and she can work it.  Alexandra Daddario is gorgeous.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her stunning eyes in the Percy Jackson movies and once again I just stare up at the screen and I’m completely captivated.
#2 is Jon Bass.  I guess he’s like the everyday guy.  Realistically he wouldn’t be on this team but if we were going for realism we wouldn’t be watching a Baywatch film.  Bass is really good and he has a ton of funny moments in the film.  Actually a lot of the comedy early on is based around him.  I think of his character as a Dan Fogler or Josh Gad type.  Again not a bad thing.  Bass did a great job with the role.

The plot stems from real estate tycoon Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) trying to get all of the land on the bay.  The problem?  Drugs keep turning up on the shore.  As do dead bodies.  Mitch suspects Victoria and the team basically has to go into action.  Mitch, C.J., and Stephanie are up to the task.  Summer and Ronnie are trying to get their bearings.  And Brody is basically like, “Why the hell are you investigating this?  Go to the cops!”  It is a recurring thought throughout the movie and really he is right.  Problem is the cops in the film are made to seem non-existent or inept except for comical situations.  I mean we are here for ridiculous Baywatch action here.

We do get action.  We do get some comedy tossed in.  We get plenty of talk about teamwork and how it is important to trust in others around you.  And we get to see some beautiful ladies fill out some bathing suits and slinky dresses.  Was I entertained throughout the film?  Yes.  Did I laugh?  Yes.  Did I look at my watch?  I did not.  The time passed quickly and I had a good time.


So why the hate?  Why the acceptance of 22 Jump Street but not Baywatch?  I’m not really sure.  I really feel that the elements were here but perhaps the film just wasn’t people’s cup of tea. Which is a shame.  I thought the flick to be quite enjoyable.  Dwayne Johnson’s charisma?  It is all over the place in this flick.

If there was one thing I really disliked was the cameos of David Hasselhoff (who looks AWFUL) and Pamela Anderson.  Very, very forced almost like there was some kind of obligation to throw them in.  Take them out of the movie completely and it does not affect the plot one single iota.  They are there for fan service.  It’s the same way I felt about all the original Ghostbusters being in the new Ghostbusters movie.  I get it…but I really don’t get it.
I feel like this film got a bad rap it didn’t deserve mainly thanks to aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes.  I dug this movie and while it wasn’t the stupid comedy that I thought I was going to get I really had a good time watching it.  Do yourself a favor: if you were going to see the movie but were dissuaded by the reviews just put your butt in the car and go see it in theaters.  You’ll probably have a great times.

RANK: B