Prior to a May 25 premiere date in theaters across the US, Baywatch has been categorically lambasted by all in sundry. The early reviews could not be more scathing if they tried. Lamenting the R-rated tone that often opts for the gross angle rather than searching for something interesting to bring to the table.
Many were skeptical heading into the reboot of the 90s television series and first indications are that they were right to be cynical. The Seth Gordon film from Paramount will be hoping to cash in on the $65m comedy when it drops this Thursday. But the critics have not held back from the Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron installment.
If You Want A Real Remade Comedy, See 21 Jump Street
Entertainment Weekly wasted no time in identifying other movies within the comedy remake to argue that it can be successful. Baywatch was not one of those.
“Back in 1995, The Brady Bunch Movie showed that there was a clever, postmodern way to turn our mothballed childhood memories into irreverent satire. But with the exception of the first 21 Jump Street, Hollywood seems to be beyond the point of putting any effort into these things. Aside from some mild laughs that come from the alpha-dog friction between Johnson and Efron, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift’s script is a lazy barrage of sad-trombone product-placement gags and red-band boobs-and-boners jokes.”
With a D+ rating, Collider agrees with the comparison.
"It’s unfortunate that Baywatch isn’t a stronger film because it has the cast and the premise to be an effective comedy, but sadly, no one behind the scenes seemed to have a good idea of what that comedy should be. Without a clear vision of what they were trying to accomplish, they rested on tired jokes and predictable situations. Instead of checking out Baywatch, just watch 21 Jump Street again. You’ll have a much better time."
Screen Daily went a step further, saying that some of the gags were incredibly tone deaf and even in poor taste from a series over two decades old.
“There’s a slight homophobic bent to the humour, as the male characters freak out about being close to male genitalia or having to touch another man. The film may pretend it’s more sophisticated than the show that spawned it, but its comedic stylings are alarmingly regressive.”
Baywatch 2017 Doesn't Know What It Wants To Be
USA Today makes the obvious point that it ultimately delivers what it advertises - a touch of sex appeal and tongue-in-cheek humor. But even then it falls short.
“Everything one would expect in a Baywatch movie — cleavage, bouncing body parts, constant flexing and the excessive use of slo-mo — is present. (Plus, a couple of the old TV castmembers show up for cameos.) Yet the remake yearns to be both sendup farce and straight action film, tripping along the way and failing to grasp either.”
New York Post could not hold back a jibe at the returning Hasselhoff while slamming the picture in the same paragraph.
“It washes up on the beach like a dead whale ... It all feels woefully juvenile, and many of the jokes strain harder than (David) Hasselhoff sucking in his gut back in Season 9."
Then Forbes concluded with a critique that no studio or filmmaker would want to hear - it just flat out sucked.
“Baywatch is a crushing disappointment and a waste of quite a bit of talent. It is technically a comedic farce based on a dramatic television series, yet it is shockingly unfunny and hopelessly bland. The picture has nothing to say, either about the show on which it is based or anything else of value.”