Reel Shorts | Baywatch

Both our critics weigh in on the summer comedy . . .

by Monica Hayes

Are you ready for the beach? If so, go get your board shorts and itsy bitsy tiny weenie bikinis ready and head to the beach for fun, sun and a little adventure in the 90’s reboot of Baywatch. Just make sure you have plenty of sunblock because you may get burned.

Matt Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson) is THE MAN on the beach and its lifeguard try-outs again and he and his team are ready to pick three new recruits.

To his dismay, Mitch is forced to give one of his spots to Matt Brody (Zack Efron), an arrogant, cocky, two-time Olympic gold medalist, whose party boy ways not only disgraced him within the Olympic community, landed him on probation and earned him the moniker of “Vomit Comet.” Brody is not about to lower his standards and ‘try-out’ for the position he knows he already has, but when a call about a boat on fire comes in, Brody not only puts himself in danger but almost gets the team killed because he didn’t follow protocol.

After the boating accident, the team comes across a potential drug smuggling operation. What they find out is just the tip of the iceberg. Now, they must work together to stop Victoria Leeds, (Priyanka Chopra) a wealthy property developer whose sinister plan to buy up all the property on the Bay and make it private all while smuggling drugs to finance her ventures.

Baywatch was very easy to watch, thanks to Efron being shirtless damn near the entire movie, and Johnson in his signature Under Armor compression gear. There are few hilarious scenes with Jon Bass as comic relief. One such scene is reminiscent of the bathroom scene in There is Something About Mary. If you have seen it, there is no need to explain. LOL.

The fact that Johnson NEVER says Brody’s name, instead he calling him everything from Soft n Supple, Nsync, Bieber, to High School Musical (probably because Efron WAS in High School Musical in his Disney days). Even with all bronzing oil, extra skin, yachts, and gorgeous views, Baywatch is just OK.

Yes, the writers threw in some plots used in the TV series, and cameos by David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson’s slow-motion walking still didn’t carry this movie. Baywatch is pretty to look at, but don’t expect to be wowed.

Grade C

* * *

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

Another (ahem) classic TV show from the ‘80s gets the big screen redux in Baywatch.
Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon is a modern day superhero, a god among men. Scantily clad in tight Under Armor shirts and swim trunks, he patrols his jurisdiction, the beach. Everyone knows him and everybody loves him. He speaks Surfer, dominates the basketball court and has sandcastles built in his likeness. He has saved hundreds of lives on the beach and everyone has a story about the sister, brother, child or mother that he has rescued. Then we see him in action, saving a life all before the opening credits.

Because of the adoration for Mitch (Dwayne Johnson) and the rest of the Baywatch crew, Samantha (the gorgeous Ilfenesh Hadera) and CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), the annual Baywatch lifeguard tryouts are an event. Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass) is the overweight and awkwardly inept guy who has been trying for years and has no quit when it comes to saving lives makes the team along with Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) who fits the Baywatch mold completely. But the third recruit is Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Brody is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner but lost disastrously in the relay race. Mitch is adamant that the cocksure Iowa farm boy is not a fit for the team. However, Baywatch Commissioner (Rob Huebel) insists on the addition of Brody because of the publicity it will bring to Baywatch for allowing Brody to complete his community service hours with the team.

The chemistry in the movie is good. Daddario re-teams with The Rock after San Andreas but shares little screen time together in this film. Efron continues to display his comedic chops by playing straight man to the constant jabs of The Rock. There are two scenes between Johnson and Hadera where the sparks are flying. Hopefully, there is another team up in the future for them.

If you are looking for Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) in a bathing suit as is advertised on the group still for the movie, it does not happen. The international superstar shows her acting skills by playing the deliciously evil Victoria Leeds who desires to own all of the Baywatch area.

Baywatch is rated R for crude sexual content, and graphic nudity and it lives up to its rating. There are enough penile and mammary gland jokes in the movie to make National Lampoon blush. Baywatch is raunchy, tongue–in-cheek swim through ridiculousness and it that way honors the TV show well.

Look for cameos from Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson as well.

Grade: C+