Film Review: Nostalgia Not Enough to Save ‘Baywatch’ From Drowning

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CHICAGO – Going to the beach is simultaneously an exciting and disgusting experience. Swimming in the cool water that thousands have gone inside in the past, with more than a few leaving bodily fluid deposits, is the perfect way to describe “Baywatch”. No amount of beefy biceps or shirt-busting breasts could have given “Baywatch” the buoyancy needed to keep from sinking, let alone stay afloat.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

Director Seth Gordon is able to take his immense TV show experience and successfully recreate the visual aesthetic of the “Baywatch” show and give it a modern face-lift. That isn’t the only work the show has had done, but like cheap, botched plastic surgery, the work was definitely not for the better. It goes without saying that the film’s warm color palette fits with the beach perfectly, but everything else is as murky as the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The film’s pacing is nothing like the tv show’s, opting instead to raise the testosterone up to 11 and make it feel more like a mindless action flick. Don’t worry, there is still all the slow-motion running and half-zipped female bathing suits galore, but when you have characters constantly questioning the events, like Zac Efron’s character delivering the same realization every few scenes, this dead horse gets beaten into a bloody paste.

You can be self-aware without playing to the obvious, but that is just one of the long list of things “Baywatch” proves it doesn’t understand. With a Baywatch-sized team of story and screenplay writers, the script should have been something gnarly, but instead came off as terribly fishy. Screenwriting duo Damian Shannon and Mark Swift have given us such gems as the “Friday the 13th” remake and “Freddy vs. Jason” have given us their latest installment of a horror film taking place near a body of water with two behemoths sparring. The only difference is that while their previous films tastefully capped their penis jokes at 1- 2, “Baywatch aggressively inserts almost a dozen, leaving us with a very salty taste in our mouths…. from the sea water, of course.

“Baywatch” opens everywhere on May 25th. Featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Jon Bass, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Hannibal Buress. Screenplay by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. Directed by Seth Gordon. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Jon Espino’s full review of “Baywatch”

baywatch1
Different crew, but the same watch in ‘Baywatch’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

StarContinue reading for Jon Espino’s full review of “Baywatch”

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