Last year, when the prospect of a Dwayne Johnson-helmed Baywatch was merely a twinkle in our eye, there was a certain excitement to it. For the kids of the ’90s in particular, seeing the iconic red bathing suits once again and knowing that The Rock was involved seemed to make it a sure thing.
It seems the absolute conviction of the prospective movie’s greatness was misplaced, at least according to the reviews already out (the movie will be released this coming Friday, May 26). From “trash folly” to “empty” to “sloppy,” Baywatch has been outwardly lambasted by film critics across the board. The main criticism is the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be: Is it a satire? A comedy? A drama?
When the critics are saying that the movie is worse than its source material — a campy TV show about lifeguards on a California beach starring Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff — that is not a good sign, considering the original Baywatch was hardly the stuff of intellectual or comedic champions.
Here’s what the critics are saying (so far) about Baywatch. (Don’t worry, there are no spoilers.)
From Rolling Stone:
“Of the recent spate of moldy TV material morphing into movies, with 21 Jump Street on top and CHIPs bringing up the rear, Baywatch barely escapes the basement… Think of yourself sitting down for a big two-hour wallow in instant stupid with a vat of popcorn, slathered in fake butter and possibly a mound of melted M&Ms on top. It feels great chugging it down, then your stomach hurts, your head aches and you puke the whole thing up so you can forget about it in the morning. That’s Baywatch in a nutshell. Happy puking.”
From Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s official: we’ve now entered the critical, Code Red phase of Hollywood’s remake epidemic. What seemed to start off as a winking and benign recycling of the pop culture past has mutated into something far more insidious. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Baywatch — the rare movie that even the Teflon-coated, thousand-watt charisma of Dwayne Johnson can’t save.”
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From the Chicago Tribune:
“The bodies on screen are pretty, which I seem to remember was a selling point of the 1989-2001 TV series. The movie’s comic instincts, though, are consistently coarse and frequently scrotal. This is what’s good about the R-rated Baywatch trailer easily found online. It will help you, the consumer, decide if the movie’s the kind of wringer you want to put your money through.”
“Baywatch, as a series, now looks jaw-droppingly goofy and harmless (actually, it did then too), and the movie would have been smart to satirize the show’s innocuous underworld drama and cheeseball male gaze, playing up the dated absurdity of it all. But no: The film’s director and its screenwriters have glommed Baywatch onto the theme of the moment: namely, that a bunch of good-looking SoCal lifeguards, devoted to keeping their beach a safe cool magical place, are just like — wait for it! — a family.”
From The A.V. Club:
“Perhaps because it’s pointless to mock something so inherently hollow, Baywatch eventually gets so caught up in its rote action plot — and in delivering enough glistening curves, wicked jet ski chases, and montages of sexy people walking sexily — that it stops trying to make fun of any of it. The film instead becomes a mélange of boob and boner jokes, with the kind of lightly snarking, movie-only banter where everyone is constantly busting each other’s balls.”
“Baywatch veers all over the place like a drunk on a speedboat, making for one of the most lacklustre comedies of the year so far… Even Johnson, who is physically incapable of being unlikeable [sic], can’t do anything to save it. This beach ain’t ready.”
If you want to see more reviews of the movie, you can read them here.
‘Baywatch’ opens in theatres on Friday, May 26.