Movie review: 'Baywatch'

Brad Keefe

It takes a special kind of effort to make the worst movie of the year. It's only May, but we have a leading contender.

Some may have summarily brushed off the big-screen adaptation of the cheeseball syndicated lifeguard series “Baywatch” as a terrible idea, but I was more than willing to give it a chance. There were a number of plausible paths to it being a good, mindless time at the movies.

In fact, it toys with several of them before drowning in its own tone-deafness.

Dwayne Johnson takes over David Hasselhoff's trunks as Mitch Buchannon, leader of the team of dedicated lifeguards who, uh, watch the bay and also solve crimes and stuff.

His class of new summer recruits includes Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a disgraced former Olympic swimmer with abs of gold and a chip on his shoulder.

The wild shifts in tone come early and often with a self-serious rescue scene that would have felt at home on the TV show promptly followed by an erection joke that would have felt at home in a lesser Farrelly brothers movie.

That “Baywatch” can't settle on what it wants to be is its biggest crime. The drug smuggling plot thwarted by lifeguards is overlong and full of missed comedic opportunity. The jokes themselves feel like they were added in a late draft of a script with six credited writers because someone correctly realized the movie wasn't that funny.

Perhaps most unexpectedly, with a cast featuring Johnson, Efron, Alexandra Daddario and swimsuit model Kelly Rohrbach, it doesn't even deliver much sexy eye candy. One friend who joined my group at the South Drive-In twice shouted, “Why is your shirt on?” at Efron.

“Baywatch” doesn't even deliver enough so-bad-it's-good quality to endure its overlong two-hour runtime. This beach is lined with the corpses of missed opportunities.


Now playing

1 star out of 5