The movie follows veteran lifeguard Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson), who is forced to take in new recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron) into the Baywatch team. Brody is a cocky, disgraced Olympic swimmer, forced to work as a lifeguard as both a PR move for the beach and to serve community service for a previous crime. But Brody quickly realizes that the job involves more than he thought when drug-dealer/business tycoon Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) threatens to buy off all the beachfront property and use it for her own nefarious purposes.
Everything about this movie is unlikeable, but I think the most egregious aspect are the characters themselves. None of them are even remotely interesting, relying heavily on stereotypes and tropes that we are so used to by now that we could map out their actions after having taken five pounds of heavy narcotics. And sometimes these stereotypes go from dull to actually offensive, especially in the case of the realtionship between characters Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass) and CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach). They are the generic “overweight nerdy guy falls for sexy woman” pair, going all in on both of the terrible tropes that come with both ends. The nerd is insanely awkward and eventually falls to the role of being the team's “tech guy”, the woman is just a sexy body and given no character whatsoever. It’s the perpetuation of stereotypes like this that makes the film unbearable.
And even the characters who are not offensively tropey are oddly hypocritical. Take the lead, Mitch. Mitch is the perfect lifeguard, a physical specimen who simultaneously saves lives and make the people on the beach feel comfortable. He reiterates multiple times that the only thing the Baywatch team should care about is saving lives, that you can only be on the team if you are going to give your all into saving the lives of people who need help. But then, he spends something like five fucking minutes of screentime having what is essentially a dick measuring contest with Brody. It’s a cheap chance to show off Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron’s ripped bodies, and it is so out of character for Mitch that it is extremely obvious how little of a shit the screenwriters give about making their characters any more than vessels for jokes.
And, in theory, all of that might be OK if the jokes were any good. But they are not. The film’s brand of humor reminds me of Masterminds, my least favorite film of 2016. The jokes are childish, the kind of humor that you’d expect twelve-year-old boys would laugh about while carving penises into the stalls of their middle school’s bathroom. Actual jokes that happen are as follows:
1. A guy gets a boner and tries to hide it by laying on a lawn chair, but his dick gets stuck. He can’t get it out, but his boner won’t go away because he keeps looking at an attractive woman in a swimsuit.
2. Brody has to look at a dead man’s taint. This is the extent of a joke that goes on for about 30 seconds.
Also, the dead man’s dick is out. Laugh.
3. Buchanan and Brody have to sneak into a building in disguise. Brody crossdresses. There is no discernible punchline, as the film expects seeing Zac Efron in drag will be so side-splittingly funny that it would be unnecessary to actually add a joke in.
And I could go on from there. The movie has a slew of other problems, like the awful editing and action sequencing, which make it so reprehensible. It’s a comedy that completely lacks any sense of humor, any characters that we can even slightly enjoy, any attempt at being interesting. Baywatch relies on hackneyed stereotyping and uninspired dick/shit jokes so heavily that I find it hard to believe six grown-ass adults wrote it and not 30 sixth-graders who huff glue. Please, don’t see this movie.
It’s not worth the Bay-watch (sorry).