Baywatch movie poster
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Baywatch
Baywatch movie poster

Baywatch Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Don’t watch Baywatch if you’re looking for a comedy classic. Looking for dumb comedy, but not always good dumb comedy? Maybe. Sadly, Baywatch is a mediocre-at-best action-comedy that will leave you laughing in parts and shaking your head in others.

I used to watch the original TV show when I was a kid but frankly don’t remember a lot about it, including its tone, stories, etc. But this new Baywatch, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario, feels as though the Farrelly brothers got a hold of it--there are two amusing if tired sequences involving men’s penises among a menagerie of stupid, physical comedy that seems better suited for the 1990’s than today.

There’s nothing wrong with dumb comedy when done right (looking at you, 22 Jump Street, which surely was the inspiration for the self-deprecating Baywatch). The problem is, Baywatch doesn’t do it right.

Dwayne Johnson is his typical charismatic self, but director Seth Gordon, best known for Horrible Bosses and the incredibly awful Four Christmases and Identity Thief, fails to capitalize on his bulked-up star in a way that, say, the Fast & Furious franchise has. Zac Efron is sort of funny, but he’s played pretty-but-dumb better in the Neighbors movies. Daddario works in the role, but she, along with the new CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), are primarily eye candy.

The tidal wave of a problem is the plot, however, or at least how Gordon and screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift fail to blend the film’s comedic tone into the plot. The tedious story, which is about some drug-dealing real estate mogul trying to take over “the bay,” is eye-rollingly bad, but to make matters worse, the filmmakers largely abandon efforts to be funny when the plot--which makes very little sense half the time--kicks into gear. Priyanka Chopra is downright terrible as the villain.

On a rudimentary level, Baywatch offers enough laughs to be mildly entertaining. But it scrapes mightily hard to be funny enough to overcome its complete and utter lack of cleverness. Watch something else.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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