Comfortably Dumb: Our Review of ‘Baywatch’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 25, 2017
Comfortably Dumb: Our Review of ‘Baywatch’

It’s an incredibly key factor that contributes quite often to the very bain of the human existence; the fact that we as a species can often over think some shit.

While I can tell you with no shadow of a doubt that Baywatch won’t win any awards or even be in the discussion for anything remotely celebrating its excellence, it is still a fun and goofy ride of a film that never takes itself all too seriously and will make you smile (if not laugh) throughout the bulk of its running time.

Lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is devoted to two things in his life; his bay that he looks out for every day and his team that help him do it.  However it is your standard day over at Baywatch as he now has three raw new recruits that he has to train; including a brash ex-Olympian party boy named Matt Brody (Zach Efron) all while uncovering a criminal plot from local business woman (Priyanka Chopra) that threatens the existence of the entire bay that they know and love.

While it doesn’t quite capture the comedic magic that other TV to Movie adaptations have in the recent past, Baywatch still gets by thanks to some well shot set pieces and an amusing script that knows not to take itself too seriously in spite of some pretty obvious flaws.

For the most part director Seth Gordon keeps everything moving at a healthy pace with a very slick and beautiful sheen to it all and plays in moments like it is being slathered in baby oil in order to soak up as much sun as is humanly possible.  It straddles the line between action, comedy and drama reasonably well as the narrative moves along and it only gets derailed in small moments that never quite resonate as well as might have been hoped due to the occasionally forced logic jump or a square joke trying to be plugged into a round hole and to be fair, if that’s the worst thing you can say about a movie with 6 script credits to it, then you are doing OK.  The comedy moves fast and is thankfully fairly self-referential taking itself, its plot and what these characters are trying to do all that seriously being very aware of its occasionally over sexualized themes and knowingly goofy overtones which to be honest goes a very long way into making something like this an enjoyable experience and the ensemble cast was with the material in perfect step the entire way.

Dwayne Johnson is truly the epitome of movie star these days as he works just as well kicking ass and taking names as he does leaning into being a bit of a muscle bound alpha dog with a love of dick jokes while working the beach and it makes for a very likeable combo.  Zac Efron is just getting better and better and playing the ‘fish out of water’ dingbat who ultimately becomes loveable at the exact same pace.  Together they have an effortless comedic timing which works wonders in getting us engaged in the story.  Sadly outside of these two the chemistry starts to fall off, there’s some decent chemistry between Efron and Alexandria Daddario’s Summer Quinn, while Kelly Rohrbach got a couple of moments to shine as CJ opposite Jon Bass as goofy comic relief but Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden just felt like background and Priyanka Chopra felt case very obviously compelled to cater to various demographics by participating in the film.

When all is said and done, Baywatch gets enough done because even though it isn’t the comedic home-run everyone was hoping for, it still does enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

This post was written by
David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.