Infected with a head cold that my husband brought home on his literal last day of teaching for the year, armed with tissues, Aleve Cold and Sinus, and a hunger for french fries, I set out on Saturday for the Cinebistro to take in what I was hoping would be a completely fun movie.
I was not disappointed. The cute Ronnie going mute and dumb around his crush CJ, the will they/won’t they between Mitch and Stephanie, and the “hate turns to love” relationship between Summer and Brody hits all the romantic/general comedy tropes that you love.
- The Rock just ceaselessly rags on Zac Efron. It is amazing. I kept waiting for when the “new kid” would get one over on him but he never does and it’s exactly right. The Rock is flawless in this movie. I love him so much, he’s so funny.
- Not all the lifeguards are ripped. The addition of Ronnie (Jon Bass) onto the squad after his third time trying out was a real heart warmer for me. I liked that nod to the idea that you don’t necessarily have to LOOK like you’re in shape or healthy to be able to do that job. A++ casting and writing people, good on you.
- Priyanka Chopra is so fucking hot. As the villain in this movie (and btw I love a lady villain, again great work writing staff) she’s just completely obvious but so terrifying. She snidely responds to one of the lifeguards asking “what are you, a Bond villain?” with “no…well, not yet *smiles*” OMG I think I have the vapors.
- There are no twists. I mean, there is one but if you’re looking for it you’ll see it coming from a mile away. Two miles even. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about analyzing the story. I could just enjoy it for what it was, which was a fun movie.
Cons (maybe spoilers?)
- I get that Baywatch has to be sexy for the menfolk. As I mentioned above the movie hits a high note with its villain, Victoria Leeds (Chopra). Unfortunately it hits a low note with its blonde lifeguard CJ, played by Kelly Rohrbach. There are ways for her tits to be out without them literally being out, people realize this right? Her bathing suit has a zipper that is constantly almost completely open (and having zippered bathing suits on the lady lifeguards is another issue altogether). The small pro here is that she’s not a complete ditz and is kind and observant, especially of Ronnie’s affections for her, but still it was really unfortunate that this was a distraction for me. Especially when…
- …the men are just in swim trunks and t-shirts. TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRTS SO I CAN SEE YOUR ABS AND PECS PLEASE. That small moment when Brody (Efron) does the wrong obstacle course at the beginning I think I blacked out from the 24 pack he was flouncing about, but that’s the point to this kind of movie. So I guess I can forgive the bathing suit thing from #1 a little bit, if the boys were in a state of undress almost consistently too.
- The Cameos. No I did not need the ghost of old David Hasselhoff to show up to lend this movie credibility. It made me cringe, it made me kind of mad. This was not like that moment in the new Star Trek movie where alternate timeline old and young Spocks meet and it makes sense and pays homage to the original Spock (because Leonard Nemoy, duh – RIP). It took me out of the story and I was actually kind of mad about it. I was further angered by the gratuitous appearance of Ms. Pamela Anderson at the end (who played the original CJ), and her being there made no sense. If you’re going to reboot something and use the exact same names for the people, you can’t have the other people there too. If you’re going to imply that this is a new generation that the older Baywatch generation passed the torch to, then give the characters different names than the original cast.
- Ilfenesh Hadera plays Stephanie Holden (far right in the picture) and she is unfortunately the most forgettable character. She has very few lines, but if you’re paying attention, you notice that she is as knowledgeable and capable as Mitch. They even might have some romantic tension, but it’s not explored enough and her character is not bright or featured enough to give her a moment in this movie. I wanted more of her, the strong lady in charge on the side of good, but I was let down. In fact, this very thing was the first thing I knew I wanted to write for this review, because of the 6 lifeguards, she seemed to just fade into the background, and I think the movie was the lesser for it.
Overall though it had me laughing throughout and the story was fun. Sometimes I think that we get so wrapped up in deep, Oscar-worthy, indie film types that we forget to go to the movies to enjoy ourselves. Baywatch isn’t going to win an Oscar, but it won over this cold, dead heart. Why don’t you go and enjoy yourself too. Have a great week!