Film: “Baywatch”; Director: Seth Gordon; Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Rob Huebel, Oscar Nunez, David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Charlotte McKinney and Izabel Goulart; Rating: **1/2
“Baywatch” is a light action comedy based on a popular television series of the same name. The film evokes a mixed reaction as it offers nothing exceptional in terms of story or performances, yet the film is earnestly engaging.
Set in Emerald Bay, Florida, Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon and his team of lifeguards, including second-in-command Stephanie Holden and veteran C.J. Parker, protect the beaches and the bay as part of an “elite of the elite” division known as Baywatch.
The plot is a straight-laced action drama that involves Mitch recruiting a fresh batch of life guards, investigating a couple of deaths and saving the beach from drug menace and a few rescue operations. While the film is vibrant as a comedy, stemming from its self-depreciating, and at times, crass humour, the film falls short, on many counts, as a crime caper.
The performances are good and credible. The film belongs to Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, as they share a fairly decent screen time. Also, their on-screen chemistry is simply amazing. Dwayne plays Mitch Buchannon — the senior most member of the team who is loved by the community, but hated by the local policeman Garner Ellerbee and Mitch’s superior Captain Thorpe.
Dwayne as usual is his charming self and Zac Efron as the new entrant Matt Brody matches him in charm and screen presence. The banter between the duo is actually what keeps you hooked.
The female life guards are definitely more than mere eye candies, and they also play the love interest to their counterparts.
The Indian audience would definitely rush to watch “Baywatch” for Priyanka Chopra who essays the role of the antagonist, Victoria Leeds, the real-estate baron who is also a drug dealer. Though she is cast as a prominent figure, her character is underwritten and weakly presented, making her an ineffective villain. Nevertheless, she holds her stead.
Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff, the original stars of the television series, both look jaded and they are wasted in their miniscule, one-scene roles.
There are ample, well-choreographed action sequences but unfortunately they lack the adrenaline pumping thrills.
Overall, director Seth Gordon misses to hit the right notes to make this a memorable film.