Baywatch plays like a two-hour wet dream, and you will leave feeling like the crusty sheet. For the ’90s TV series’ feature-length revival, director Seth Gordon jumbles together dick jokes, high-stakes heroics, battling alphas, slow-mo running sequences, and tiny red bathing suits. The result is barely watchable.
The United States’ 46th president, the Rock, assumes David Hasselhoff’s role as beach patriarch Mitch Buchannon, who has an elite team of lifeguards he describes as “the heart and soul of this very beach.” There’s CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera), some blurry background lifeguards we never meet, and three trainees—Matt (Zac Efron), Summer (Alexandra Daddario), and Ronnie (Jon Bass).
The plot is boring: A real estate developer is selling drugs on the beach to drive down property values. The male characters get fleshed-out backstories: Mitch’s sense of purpose comes from his work on the beach, Matt is a foster kid-turned-Olympian-turned-houseless lifeguard, and Ronnie is a lionhearted computer geek. But the one-dimensional female characters only enter the plot as objects of desire, like pages torn from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. In what has to be a coincidence, both the screenplay and story are credited to half a dozen dudes.
And these dudes decide to use dick jokes as building blocks for the whole movie. Seriously, there are so many dick jokes. I didn’t know a single film could contain this many dick jokes! Injured dicks, talking dicks, dead dicks. Was there a dick joke quota they were required to meet? But worse than dick jokes, there’s some hardcore fat-shaming and transphobia. It’s not like Baywatch had much to live up to—the TV show wasn’t exactly a masterpiece. But at least Hasselhoff’s dumb show didn’t actively make you feel worse about the state of the world.
The Rock is radiant, though. You can tell he doesn’t even care that the thing he’s in is full of bad ideas. He’s just happy to be here! Presumably this is also how he’ll feel about the White House.