Rock Solid: A Review of ‘Baywatch’

By The Collectress

I have done my best to keep this review spoiler-free and will tag any potential spoilers with **.

When I think of Baywatch, I think of The Hoff with a glistening tan, slo-moing down a perfect beach in red speedos.

Yeah, like that.

I loved the original television series (I’m a 90s kid) and I was so excited to hear that Dwayne Johnson was going to helm the cast of the feature-length film. No lie, I will watch (almost) anything with Johnson in it, and well, it wasn’t difficult to persuade a few friends to go to the local cinema and watch the Rock run up and down the beach shirtless for two hours.

There’s a reason people watch Baywatch, and it’s never the plot.

The plot, like it was in most Baywatch episodes, is ridiculous. Mitch Buchanan, the lieutenant of the lifeguards (Johnson) suspects local real estate mogul Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) of smuggling drugs and general nefariousness. He’s joined by his crew of both seasoned lifeguards Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera) and CJ (Kelly Rohrbach) and trainees Matt Brody (Zac Efron), Summer (Alexandra Daddario), and Ronnie (Jon Bass) in investigating Leeds. Their investigation leads them to infiltrating Leeds’ parties, hiding in cadaver drawers in the morgue (most hilarious scene of the film), and espionage, all the while still maintaining their general lifeguarding duties.

For all that the plot is ridiculous, the film is still enjoyable. The lifeguards still wear their signature red, the beach is quintessentially American, and Mitch and Matt exchange rather clever quips at each other’s expense. Priyanka Chopra is also delightful to watch. I have been a fan of hers since her days as a Bollywood starlet (Krrish and Salaam-E-Ishq are some of my favorites), and her turn as the villain is scene-stealing. She’s charming, and ruthless, and everything a stereotypical villain in a stereotypical movie should be.

So what’s the appeal in a stereotypical movie with stereotypical characters and a ridiculous plot?

Baywatch is the kind of film that never takes itself seriously. In fact, I would argue that its ridiculousness is precisely why you should see it. There are plenty of ridiculous films in the world that take themselves too seriously (I’m looking at you Green Lantern), but Baywatch isn’t one of those. Baywatch knows precisely how ridiculous it is, and it willfully pokes fun at itself. I mean, the characters call each other out on the slo-moing, and Efron’s Matt Brody repeatedly tells Johnson’s Mitch, “Isn’t this something the police should be doing?”

Is this the kind of film that critics will rave about? Absolutely not. Is it the kind of film that you’re going to have fun watching with your friends? Absolutely. In fact, I plan on seeing it again this weekend because it was such a good time.

To sum up: watch Baywatch for the laughs and for the eye candy.