After a herculean press push that was unavoidable to even a casual consumer of media, the Baywatch movie is finally in theaters today. The trailer looked fun enough: Hot bods! The Rock! Summer is a fun season! Priyanka Chopra as a champagne-guzzling villain! Zac Efron playong a hot dumb idiot? Hell yeah! If anyone ever belonged in that lane it’s him! Unfortunately, the majority of the people who have seen the film thus far would disagree.
Baywatch is currently sitting with a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (It was at 21% when I started writing this post.) Though, if it makes them feel better, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is mucking through a 15% rating. Many of the Baywatch reviews share similar opinions.
The humor is juvenile and unfunny. Via Slate:
The middle stretch of Baywatch mainly involves dick jokes, elaborate multistage ones based on the debatable assumption that dicks in themselves—having them, touching them, talking about them—are hilarious. Sometimes they get caught, fully erect, between the slats of beach chairs while the blonde babes who got them in that predicament attempt gamely to prize them out! Sometimes they’re the dicks of dead guys in morgue drawers, which must be examined and handled up close by a skeeved-out Zac Efron for no clear reason except to humiliate his character! The important thing is that they are penises, and thus provocative of general hilarity.
Everybody loves Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson but not everybody loves his choice in movie scripts. Via The Washington Post:
The movie couldn’t possibly damage the actor’s popularity. Johnson being Johnson, he’s still a delight to watch. But there’s only so much a charismatic giant can do when he’s up against a blend of lazy gross-out humor and inane male wish fulfillment weighed down by terrible editing and lame action.
And even by reboot standards, this ain’t it. Via Screencrush:
It’s easy to dismiss the old Baywatch. But that show, dopey as it was, pioneered the export of lowest-common denominator entertainment to the widest-possible audience at a time when movies were just beginning to discover the potential of the international market. Simple plots, likable characters, lots of bloodless action, a hint of sex (but not too much, so you’re not limited by a restrictive content rating); the Baywatch formula is essentially the formula of every modern blockbuster. When Gordon and his collaborators make fun of the old show, they don’t seem to realize that the joke’s on them.
There are a number of contrasts to 2012's 21 Jump Street reboot which managed to channel the original series while remaining self-aware and, more importantly, legitimately funny.
The good news for The Rock and company is that bad reviews matter a lot less for summer popcorn blockbusters, though they’ve all got to be a little nervous. In particular, Paramount Pictures desperately needs a win following leadership turnover and a string of flops including the Scarlett Johansson vehicle Ghost In The Shell, which was predicted to come in at a $60 million loss.
Still, not everyone is particularly worried. Baywatch producer Beau Flynn already has ideas for a sequel because why the hell not, I guess? Baywatch is in theaters for your ab-viewing pleasure today.