Baywatch: Let Me Drown

Baywatch Plot Summary:

Based off the hit show, Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the intense, highly respected head lifeguard who’s forced to take on a former disgraced Olympic swimmer (Zac Efron) as his trainee.  Together, they uncover a drug smuggling scheme that threatens the very beaches they protect.

Once a year, there’s always a comedy that makes me question the meaning of life. Our existence. Where did we come from? But most important of all, it makes me go on my annual “Comedy is dead” rant. Last year, that movie was Central Intelligence. This year, it’s Baywatch. Ironically enough, both star The Rock. More on that later. What can I possibly add that hasn’t been said already in other reviews? This film flat out blows bags. It’s lazy. Boring. Disjointed. Pathetic dick jokes. Worst of all though, it’s horribly unfunny. Let’s just get this over with.

We’ll get to why the comedy stinks in a minute, but let’s lock in on the film’s primary problem. On the surface, this is an action comedy. The problem is, much like Central Intelligence, it tries to pretend it’s an actual movie at times. It actually gets serious with the characters. It pretends like it has a complicated action plot. Stop. Please. No. Just be funny, for crying out loud! That’s how you billed the movie. That’s what it should be. I know we’ve talked ad nauseam about this being a 21 Jump Street rip off, but that’s truly what it should have been. That movie never got too serious, but still delved into its characters in an amusing and touching way. It’s Baywatch! Just keep it funny! Whenever the movie veered away from comedy, it was an abyss of hackneyed storytelling and complete and utter boredom.

Onto the comedy. Yup. Here we go. It’s Dan being nostalgic Dan. I can’t get over the comedies of yesteryear. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Blah, blah, blah. Fine. Go ahead and see the movie then. I dare you. I can sum up the comedy like this. There’s a scene where the nerdy fat guy (Jon Bass) sees the hot lifeguard (Kelly Rohrbach). She goes up to talk to him, but the fat nerdy guy just mumbles. That’s it.  That’s the joke. Am I being too nostalgic? I’m sorry, is that joke just way over my head? Nostalgic my ass.

Aside from that lazy garbage, the movie is one two-hour dick joke. When it’s not piling on the dick gags, which is rare, the dialogue is so on the nose, bottom of the barrel, it makes me wonder how long they spent writing this script. On the rare occasions when the script actually has decent material, the actors can’t deliver the laughs because they aren’t capable of elevating the comedy.

This cast seems like they had a lot of fun filming Baywatch, and to their credit, they have a decent chemistry. The problem is this movie needed actors who really know comedy, and can deliver perfect comedic timing. I’ve said it a hundred times, but comedy is HARD. To make somebody laugh is an exceptionally difficult skill. Alexandra Daddario, Ilfenesh Hadera, Jon Bass and Kelly Rohrbach are all good sports, but they have no chance of salvaging what is weak material to begin with. This is like putting a bunch of .250 hitters on the San Diego Padres. This script needed .380 hitters.

That leads us to The Rock.  This is where I’m going to be Mr. Unpopular. I’m sure many reviews have said “this movie stinks, but at least The Rock is entertaining.”  No. Not today. I’m not giving him a free pass. We all love Dwayne Johnson, okay. He’s very likable and seems like a cool guy to hang out with, but can we stop making him out to be this master thespian of acting and comedy? The proof is in the pudding. Last year it was Central Intelligence. This year it’s Baywatch. Is he fine in the movie? Yeah, he’s fine. But much like these other actors, the movie needed high level comedic talents. I know we all want to believe Dwayne Johnson is that guy, but I’m sorry, he’s not. Can we please stop building him up as this comedic maven?

The one guy who salvages some semblance of light chuckles is Zac Efron. He gets it. He’s the one guy who took mediocre lines and did something with them. This guy has been saddled with mediocre to bad scripts (Dirty Grandpa, Neighbors). If you get him a good comedy, Zac Efron could really deliver something special.

I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Dan, this was Baywatch. What were you expecting?” I was expecting to be entertained. Is that so much to ask? Am I out of line here! This was loud. Obnoxious. Poorly directed. Excruciating. The run time is under two hours, but it felt like War & Peace and The Hobbit trilogy had triplets. And just so you know it’s not only me, one audience member at my screening left and never came back. That’s Baywatch.

P.S. In case you were wondering, yes, there are cameos, and they were both CRINGE-WORTHY as hell.  Yikes.

Rating: 3 out of 10 (Utterly Atrocious)

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow’s fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.