I’LL BE THERE… FOREVER AND ALWAYS
I’M ALWAYS HEREEEEEEEEE
Baywatch Blu-ray Review
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario
Director: Seth Gordon
Writers: Damian Shannon and Mark Swift
Based on: Baywatch by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, and Gregory J. Bonann
A review by Stephanie Cooke
I went into Paramount’s “revival/reboot” of the “beloved” (??) and much-parodied series Baywatch kind of jazzed and excited. The trailer looked hilarious and looked like a fun parody that highlighted a lot of the more, let’s say, ridiculous aspects of the show. Not to mention that I love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the fact that he was taking up the Hasselhoff role for the film delighted me to no end.
So, did I love it? Was it everything that I hoped for and more? I really and truly wish it had been… so let’s get started on what worked and what didn’t.
Right off the bat, the audience is introduced to a variety of scenic views of the Bay area beach: sunsets, majestic waves, warm sand – the whole works. Music is blasting in the background, and the credits start playing through the first scenes. Then the music continues blasting as we get our first glimpses of The Rock as Mitch Buchannon. He gloriously runs down the beach with all the charisma of a corgi puppy. (That’s like, a LOT of charisma, FYI). Everyone loves Mitch – he’s dope as f*ck.
I’ve seen episodes of Baywatch before, but I didn’t immediately clue in that they were recycling and recasting the original characters from the TV series. Throughout the film, they reference their predecessors. There are even cameos by Hasselhoff and Anderson. I was a little confused as to why they went that route. That being said, until I noticed it, it wasn’t a big issue for me. For those who are big fans of the original Baywatch though, it may be a little jarring.
I want to backtrack for a second to the music thing. Music is a big part of a good movie to me. Having a great (or terrible) score or soundtrack can make or break a film. While Baywatch didn’t have a bad soundtrack, they had way too much of a soundtrack. Every time a song ended, another one started. SERIOUSLY. Friends continuously tell me that silence is my nemesis. If that’s true than any length of time without music is like a nemesis x INFINITY. It just NEVER STOPPED, and it was honestly kind of off-putting.
Something that was equally off-putting to me (probably more so) was Baywatch‘s inability to figure out what it wanted to be. As I mentioned, the trailer made me believe that it wanted to be a comedy spoof of the original. I think that was the intent, but the film was all over the place. One minute it was all dick and vomit jokes (seriously… one guy somehow gets his dick and balls stuck in the slats of a wooden chair) and the next, they’re doing some James Bond level villain stuff with Priyanka Chopra who is criminally (WORDPLAY!) misused in the film.
Chopra is a goddamn GODDESS that could’ve been SO MUCH BETTER and given nothing to make her shine – even her outfits (and all the women’s outfits, to be honest) are horrific and don’t even let her look as fabulous as she could. She’s like a goddamn Indian Monica Bellucci – HOW DO YOU MESS THAT UP?
It went back and forth between goofy, ridiculous, and back to serious way too often, taking me out of the moment. The story needed a stricter path from Point A to Point B.
My partner at one point during the film turned to me and said: “I’m going to pinch you for every time the screenwriter thinks that they wrote something funny, but I don’t laugh.” That’s a great way to describe the whole vibe of the film. If I’d be drinking, I maybe would’ve found some of the humour within the film mildly amusing. However, nothing was bust-a-gut laughing kind of funny. It was painful to sit through.
I spent a bit of time after finishing the film trying to figure out who was responsible for the lack of laughs. Was it the writers for not writing solid enough jokes? The actors for not being able to deliver the jokes? Or was it the director for not being able to get convincing performances out of his cast?
I have an affection for The Rock, so I might be bias when I say that I don’t think the fault is with him for not bringing laughs. Zac Efron has proven that he can be funny so I don’t believe the fault lies with him either. Which ultimately leads me to believe that the cast could have made this work. Although there’s one exception to this within the cast and I’ll get to that in a second (looking at you, Jon Bass). I’ve seen scripts with less turn out to be funny with the right cast and director. So, I think the culprit here is director Seth Gordon.
Or maybe it was just one big clusterf*ck… who knows… it just DIDN’T WORK.
That brings me back to Jon Bass. Look, Jon Bass – I have never seen you before in my LIFE. I have nothing against you. I don’t know why I’ve gotten personal with this review all of a sudden, but BOY HOWDY were you ever not funny. You were given PEANUTS… or rather just NUTS with a side of a million dick jokes. I GET THAT. Your inability to get those laughs was UNCOMFORTABLE, and that’s putting it nicely. You were the butt of MANY jokes too, and that definitely sucks. I feel they wanted you to be like Andy Samberg, but you just aren’t?
Yeah… Okay… let’s get this less personal again.
Bass, as mentioned, was there for comedic relief but just so poorly used. He has next to no charisma and just couldn’t pull off the material given to him (which again, to be fair, was next to nothing). Nothing about his character or story arc was remotely believable – and that’s saying something when it comes to a film like Baywatch.
I know I started this review by stating that I would go over what worked and what didn’t and this has basically just been all about what didn’t work. I don’t honestly have a ton to add regarding what did work, unfortunately. It’s not the worst film that I’ve ever seen. It was painful to get through, and I wouldn’t want to watch it again.
Baywatch Blu-ray Special Features:
- Extended Version of the film
- Theatrical Version of the film
- Bonus Content:
- Meet the Lifeguards
- Continuing the Legacy
- Stunts & Training
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Okay, that’s not a real verdict that we use here on the site, but wow did I ever not enjoy this film. I think the only joy I got from the film was watching my significant other squirm as he tried to survive through the entire movie. It could be something fun to watch with friends while you drink (if you drink??), but I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the film for your home collection.
The Baywatch Blu-ray (and DVD/Digital) is available to buy in stores on August 29, 2017.