Celebrated and revered lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (played by Dwayne Johnson) has to manage his relationship with Matt Brody (played by Zac Efron), a brash new recruit who happens a be an Olympic Champion that has fallen from grace, as they discover and investigate a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.
What I liked:
I’m a fan of the Rock, so you really won’t get much complaint out of me about opportunities to watch him on the big screen. I enjoyed his performance here as well as his interactions with Efron. I don’t think I’ve encountered a team up with him that I don’t like yet.
In terms of cinematography, there were some interesting shots, specifically underwater.
I also enjoyed a couple of cameos, though it would have been nice if those were actual surprises (you’ll see the names in the credits early on, so you spend a lot of the movie waiting for it).
What I didn’t like:
There were some funny moments and it definitely goes into the R-rated comedy pile. Some of my favorite comedies tend to be R-rated comedies because I like that it can pull less punches, but there still needs to be a balance for something clever. This film was actually weird in that it seemed like they were prepared for both R-rated and PG-13 versions which is why the tone seemed different at times. And while there were a couple of funny moments, there were many moments that felt as if the film was trying too hard, almost like Hangover 2, so a number of jokes fell flat.
The plot wasn’t that great. It felt completely recycled and unoriginal. What baffles me is that they had plenty of content to refer to considering it was a long running show. They could have easily taken some things and put a new fresh spin on it. But in the end we were left with a lazy writing effort.
I didn’t think the ensemble cast had great chemistry overall. I never watched the show Baywatch so I’m not sure if it was a similar, but it didn’t completely gel for me here. It’s not like the Fast and Furious films where that’s a highlight. And no, I’m not saying the Fast franchise has a great story, but it’s a redeeming quality that allows the viewers to forgive a lot of shortcomings).
I am not sure what the long-term goal is here. I assume the idea is to get a new cinematic franchise going, but the film was fine as a standalone and more sequels would be completely unnecessary. I also suspect any sequel would be less inspired than this one.
All in all the film perfectly watchable, but it was nothing special.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5