Is Baywatch (2017) Really That Bad?

By Fraser Nunn (@badknitbear)

Baywatch. It’s one of those Nostalgia bait movies that Hollywood keeps spewing out. If only they did it justice. With a few in jokes and cameos to keep a vague sense of connection, there’s little else.

There are a few good reasons to watch Baywatch and a few good reasons not to! If you walk in to the cinema looking for boobs and butts and muscles galore well then you’ve found your film.  10/10. Must see. Honestly the first 120 or so minutes, (it might be shorter but time kinda slowed down) were just gratuitous shots of Zac Efron and The Rock’s bouncing pectorals. (I know his name is Dwayne Johnson but I’m going to call him The Rock because it’s still real to me damnit!)

I went in to the film with this looming sense of fear that I would have to slate one of my greatest childhood heroes and I think that this mentality probably saved the film for me. It’s by no means a film to take seriously. One standout feature of the film that should draw in a good few punters is the barrage of names that The Rock’s Mitch Buchanan throws at Efron’s character Wonderboy, Matt Brody. This also throws out one of the best jokes in the film, a sly 4th inside joke for the audience digging into Zac’s High School Musical beginnings.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few good jokes throughout and the general feeling of the film was pretty positive. The story made sense, and gave decent character development, but let’s me serious, you didn’t go to see Baywatch expecting an emotional performance by Zac Efron or Dwayne Johnson. The films spends an elongated amount of time on one severely stretched out joke: a penis joke. Honestly, it just becomes uncomfortable. I get that stretching a joke out can sometimes make it funnier, but there are also times when it definitely kills the joke, and this is probably one of those times.

One of the vague standouts of the film was the comic relief (honestly you know they’re really struggling when a film billed as an action comedy has a comic relief character). Played by Jon Bass, he’s wacky and kinda funny and he pulls off the over the top character he’s playing and it does work in this situation. As for the over the top action sequences, they’re a bit shaky and wobbly and not great. But honestly I can’t tar the whole film with the same brush because although the end was bizarre and WAAAAAAAY over the top, The Rock has a damn fine fight scene in a kids bedroom which also provides two more of the best jokes in the film.

As a whole the film works as a stupid daft nonsense film you go see when there’s nothing else on and you fancy throwing away some cash. Or as a movie you throw on in the background when you fancy a ‘quiet night in’. From Baywatch I’ve learned that I want more Rock-Efron bromance/frenemies movies. They work as a duo and they bounce off eachother well. But with an underutilized group of secondary characters, and over the top attempts at action and comedy it’s hard to see this film as anything better than average.