Keeping up with the ‘hot” thing can be hard work. All my life I wanted to be in the know and always know the freshest new song or movie so I could tell everyone else. As I have aged that need to be the first on the block to know something has gone away. That need to be first or even in the cool crowd can be an exhausting thing. Hollywood has always been the cool crowd where they always copy whatever is hot or successful. When something comes out and becomes a hit all the others rush to find their piece of the pie. With the success of “21 Jump Street” the search for the next TV show to be turned into an ironic comedy was on.
Having to already have sat through “CHIPS” or judging from box office not many of you did we are served with the next show to try and hit that gold. “Baywatch” was a pretty popular show in the nineties and made people like Pamela Anderson household names. Everyone loves eye candy and with that show there was plenty of it for all to have, in slow-motion no less. While David Hasselhoff would be a tough swimsuit to fill for anyone, the man who would do it would be Dwayne Johnson. Johnson plays Mitch Buchannon, a kind of Superman who just happens to be a lifeguard. Whenever things go down on his beach, he doesn’t just watch it; no he attacks it, all in the name of a safe beach. Mitch can do it all, he can even try and solve a drug problem while he has to babysit the new guy, bad boy swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Sure Brody looks the part, even having two gold medals, but in reality Brody thinks there is an ‘I” in team. Not knowing how to spell is not his only problem and it will take Brody some growing up to help Mitch and the rest of the team to save their beach.
Like with anything you copy, you have to get it just right to make it work. It was an incredible balancing act that made “21 Jump Street” what it was and casting was one of them. “Baywatch” got the casting part down; I mean you can’t go wrong with Johnson and Efron. Unfortunately that is the only thing those two movies have in common. It could not keep a balance of the humor, self-deprecating, and fun action. This is the perfect example of too many hands in the cookie jar. With a total of four writers, and then adding two more for story credit the water starts to get a little choppy. With a film like this, the writing is everything and a bad script it is a hard one to overcome. Too often these writers went for the low hanging fruit when it came to the jokes, often taking aim at the genital area.
Add to the story taking itself a little too seriously and you have grade school humor that tries to play it serious. The cast is good and you will laugh at times, but you are not laughing with it but more at it. If they had only scaled back the serious tone just a bit, that could have been the lifejacket to save it. This film definitely swam out too far , so far in fact not even a hero like The Rock could save it.