Baywatch Review: Dead in the Water
I love Dwayne Johnson and I will see him in anything that he is in which is why I saw Baywatch. I was not a fan of the show, nor was a really looking forward to this film. I was hesitant considering Zac Efron was in the film and most of his films involve gross out sexual humor and dick jokes, which are fine, but not my cup of tea. However, I went into the film with an open mind and gave it a shot.
Baywatch tells the story of the lifeguards at Emerald Bay. Mitch (Dwayne Johnson) is the leader of the group, a well-liked guy, and general big shot of the area. When Matt Brody (Zac Efron) rolls into town and gets assigned to lifeguard duty, Mitch is less than pleased. Brody is an Olympic gold medal winner, but Mitch still makes him complete the training courses to make sure he is ready. Brody must train alongside trainees Summer (Alexandra Daddario) and Ronnie (Jon Bass). They work with CJ (Kelly Rohrbach) and Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera). While Brody and the others train, Mitch suspects that a new owner in the bay area, Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) is up to no good. They must work together to investigate and find out what is happening with Ms. Leeds.
The premise of the film is stupid but aligns with the show and it’s plot design so I give it a pass. The film opens with really spectacular visuals of the ocean, sunset, Mitch swimming and I was actually impressed. Once the dialogue started, that’s where my excitement ended. The writing is cheesy and filled with horrible dialogue. Some of it was done on purpose, but in order for that to be effective, there needs to be good dialogue to counterbalance it. The characters are uninteresting and one note. The worst part is the film tries to be interesting by having a female villain, but that villain does nothing and is waited on hand and foot by her henchmen. Throwing in lines like “if I were a man, you’d call me driven” and featuring her only in extremely tight and extremely revealing clothing did nothing to help solidify her as a decent villain. It was a waste of Priyanka Chopra and her acting abilities. Zac Efron plays pretty much the same douchebag character who needs to learn a lesson. It gets so old and so dull within minutes. Most of the film is spent focusing on Brody and Mitch and occasionally throws in small moments with the other characters and their development.
The film has a significant problem with repetition that gets really old really fast. How many times can we hear Mitch call Brody a boyband name or a boyband member’s name? How many times do we need to hear a dick joke? It just gets really tired. This repetition is part of the reason the film feels so long at 1 hour and 56 minutes. The other problem is the predictability of the story. Halfway through or even sooner, you know what will happen. There no surprises or something to switch it up, just the same thing you’d expect from the film.
While there are a few moments that got a smile or a chuckle from me, most of which involved Dwayne Johnson being charming, the film as a whole falls flat. The balance that I think the writers were going for with the dialogue never happened, and the film is far too repetitious to be entertaining, especially if you’re not a fan of crude humor. The director definitely has an eye for creating beautiful images, as seen at the beginning of the film, but disappears almost immediately. I really wish I could say more positive about it, but Baywatch was not what I’d hoped it would be.