It seems an odd choice to adapt a TV show that has long been consigned to the depths of 90’s nostalgia, but then there’s been other old TV shows to get the adaptation treatment to varying degrees of success. It was daft Saturday evening action and drama, with stylish opening credits and a whole lot of ogling ladies in swimsuits. And David Hasselhoff. Whereas Baywatch of the 90’s took itself seriously, Baywatch 2017 is more than self deprecating. There’s plenty of dialogue pointing out how ridiculous the concept is, be it the TV shows or the movie, not too dissimilar in tone to the opening of The Other Guys, which coincidentally stars the charisma oozing Dwayne Johnson. Alongside a ripped as fuck Zac Efron, and cast that has fantastic chemistry, there was a lot of potential for this big screen piss-take. Unfortunately the brilliant cast are let down by some substandard writing, with the only decent moments being the ones that were shown in the trailers. It’s a crying shame because these guys are all in on the joke, having a great time which comes across well, but there’s little substance to keep things ticking along as the film wears out its welcome with the running time clocking in just shy of two hours.
The direction is good with some great action shots, and the underwater scenes mirror the TV show perfectly. The comic timing is spot on, but when the funniest part of the film is the outtake reel during the credits, something is fundamentally wrong. The plot revolves around a drug ring, which gets more and more ludicrous as the film progresses, which is no sillier than the TV shows daft story lines, but it just seems more of a way of wrapping the film up as Johnson and Efron exchange insults throughout (what’s it gonna take to get these two a buddy cop thriller?). It’s not for a family tea time audience this time however, as there’s more effing and blinding than a Derek and Clive LP. The purvey aspect is back too, with lots of abs and curves front and centre, and the reason your dad watched it religiously even has a cameo. Yes, the Hoff himself reprises his role as Mitch Buchanan, and even Pammy is back for a very odd, brief cameo as the original CJ. Despite the necessity of the cameos, they both felt shoe-horned in.
Baywatch feels like a wasted opportunity. Everything seemed to fall perfectly into place, apart from a decent script.