We need to get one thing straight as we start this review. Baywatch is not a movie to be judged on it’s plot. This movie exists in the same realm as Horrible Bosses, Spy, We’re The Millers, 21 Jump Street, & Neighbors. It has just enough plot so that it can get from joke to joke or gag to gag as efficiently as possible. It succeeds in this regard and has a really high “joke landing” percentage. More importantly, as a vehicle for unbelievably attractive people to let loose and be funny, Baywatch goes above and beyond. It is a showcase for these actors to show they’re really, really funny.
The story doesn’t need any setup beyond someone is dealing drugs on and around the beach area and the only people who can stop it are sexy lifeguards. The leader of Baywatch is Mitch played by The Rock who proves that he is the most charismatic and fun actor working today. He gets a chance to really cut loose with the language in the R rated comedy world and takes full advantage. It is sort of amazing that The Rock even has comedic range as this character is completely different from the one he played in Central Intelligence, yet is just as funny. Zac Efron continues to say ‘Hey Channing Tatum I’m a really good looking funny guy too.’ It must be really frustrating for some actors out there who have to watch “pretty boys” and action stars nail every single comedic beat in some of these movies. Efron was even better in this than he was in Neighbors. There is a scene in a morgue where Efron is on a whole other level from what I ever thought he could do as far as physical comedy and timing.
Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera are given more to do than just be eye candy. Don’t get me wrong they are constantly looking great but they also get chances to be involved in the best gags and jokes. Daddario has some great chemistry with Efron in their banter scenes, or it could be that they’re both good looking so I enjoyed watching them on screen together. Who knows? Rohrbach delivered one or two really funny scenes as well. The whole movie was structured to get everyone a really great comedic moment.
Newcomer Jon Base was a real breakout in this one. Sort of a Jonah Hill, Josh Gad, & TJ Miller hybrid that holds his own with every cast member he has a scene with. Some of the smaller players like Rob Heubel and Hannibal Burress pop in and get some damn big laughs as well. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II played the police captain and had far and away my favorite scenes in the movie. Him arguing with The Rock and Efron about their pursuit and attempts to chase down drug dealers as lifeguards had the audience laughing loud enough to where I missed jokes. I need him in more projects.
I don’t know if anyone will remember Baywatch 6 months from now but as a summer comedy it worked. For $10 you can sit down in air conditioning with a bunch of strangers and laugh at insanely beautiful people doing whatever they can for a laugh. There is nothing wrong with that. Plus the credits have bloopers in them and any movie with bloopers in the credits gets an automatic bump up by me. The word fun is overused in movie reviews today so I’ll just say that Baywatch is a blast and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Former husky model, real-life Comic Book Guy, genre-bending screenwriter, nude filmmaker, hairy podcaster, pro-wrestling idiot-savant, who has a penchant for solving Rubik's Cubes and rolling candy cigarettes on unreleased bootlegs of Frank Zappa records.