2017 Summer Movie Review: Baywatch

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Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and his team of lifeguards run in slow-motion in Baywatch. (Source: IMDb)

I have never seen the Baywatch show starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. All I needed to know about it is that a group of lifeguards save the day and run in slow-motion. That’s it.

When I saw the previews for the movie, they made me laugh quite a bit. How can anyone not love Dwayne Johnson? He may be tough, but he also has a soft side and can be really funny. Despite some bizarre casting choices (particularly in some family flicks), he proves that he can be a great action star—from The Scorpion King to the Fast and Furious franchise.

With him teaming up with a younger cast, Baywatch might be a decent comedic escape. The comedy does work at times and the action rarely lets up, the movie somewhat falls flat.

Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) works as a lifeguard on the Florida coast. The movie opens up with him saving a parasailer’s life from hitting his head on a rock. While saving hundreds of lives during his career, Mitch remembers that tryouts are the next day. His new team of lifeguards including Olympic swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron), techie Ronnie (Jon Bass), blondie CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), brunette Summer (Alexandra Dedarrio, San Andreas), and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) goes around Emerald Bay to solve a drug case.

Making fun of the original source material is nothing new. 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, The 1995 film version of The Brady Bunch and the 2002 live-action rendition of Scooby-Doo are prime examples of movies making fun of the shows that are based off of. Some work well, while others fail miserably. Baywatch is no exception.

The movie did give me a good laugh here and there. Particularly when Mitch gives Brody such a hard time and poking fun at the hot women running in slow-motion on the beach (one of the iconic bits on the show). I don’t know how Dwayne Johnson can come up with these insults. He certainly gets a good laugh while being a straight-up badass. His comedic timing is nothing short of perfect. While having to get as buffed as his co-star (so buffed he could be on American Ninja Warrior), Efron has been starring in a lot of raunchy comedies recently—from the decent Neighbors to the abysmal Dirty Grandpa. I prefer him vomiting in the pool in this movie rather than seeing him waking up on a beach wearing nothing but a bumblebee fanny pack.

While the jokes do work, there are times in which they go on for far too long. In one scene, Mitch, Brody and Summer sneak into a hospital morgue in search for evidence about the drugs. Brody is told to look under the corpse’s penis for anything, which, of course, he makes a complete ass out of himself. A lot of raunchy comedies—like Neighbors—often use a lot of dick jokes. If it goes for too long, it loses humor.

Despite its moments, Baywatch is, more or less, your standard R-rated comedy. With strong action, great chemistry between Johnson and his co-stars, what falters is some terrible CGI (still a lot better than Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) and the jokes being a mixed bag.

2/4

Movie Review: Dirty Grandpa

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*sigh* What a bloody nightmare.

Working with a wonderful actor is like a dream come true. In the case of Dirty Grandpa, the latest raunchfest, it features Robert De Niro in the worst performance of his entire career.

He plays Dick Kelly, whose wife of 40 years died from cancer. His grandson Jason (Zac Efron) is a lawyer about to get married to his controlling fiance Meredith (Julianne Hough). When Jason meets his grandfather for the first time in years, he is not what he appears to be. Dick is a foul-mouthed, irreverent, alcoholic playboy. Jason drives in his fiance’s Mini Cooper (or as Dick describes it as a “tampon” or a “dildomobile”) to Daytona Beach. Along the way, they meet two college seniors, Shadia (Zoey Deutch) and Lenore (Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation). One of the things Dick wants to cross off his bucket list is to have sex with one of them.

I usually never walk out of the theater. Dirty Grandpa is the closest I have ever come to walking out. I sat down to witness something offensive, abhorrent, and ridiculously unfunny. I would give Efron and De Niro credit for having a good time making the movie. However, this doesn’t come close to showcasing their talents. Watching De Niro masturbating while watching porn will never leave my head. He swears more than in any Martin Scorsese movie he has been in (Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Casino, to name a few)–not to mention using the n-word. He also playfully taps Efron in the ass many times, because the first time was gold. Every scene is worse than the last. Efron has come a long way from his High School Musical years, but he gives nothing to offer in this mess. Not even when he flexes his muscles for the ladies would save it. Every single character is either one-dimensional or an offensive stereotype. They all are so annoying.

Not only is it the worst movie I’ve seen so far this year (probably for the entire year), it’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It contains everything that is wrong with Hollywood.

0/4

2014 Summer Movie Review: Neighbors

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne introduce themselves as the "Neighbors"

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne introduce themselves to Zac Efron as the neighbors. What could possibly go wrong?

I hate it when I’m watching a trailer for a comedy that looked funny. For the most part, they could give all of the funny parts away in under three minutes. Once everyone go sees the movie, they would expect what they have seen from the trailer. Neighbors, the latest comedy from the creators of last year’s overrated comedy This Is the End, is no exception. Because the previews for the movie gave away just about everything, doesn’t mean I hated the movie. I went to see Neighbors this past Saturday, and I laughed, guffawed, cringed, and had a good time.

Neighbors centers around Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne), a couple who live with their newborn baby in a nice and friendly neighborhood. Then, a fraternity moves into the house next door. Mac and Kelly introduce themselves as the new neighbors. They ask Teddy (Zac Efron), the leader of the fraternity, to keep the noise down whenever he and his frat brothers have overnight parties. Even though they were invited to one of their parties, they still had to endure with their schemes. After the police blames Mac for setting the parties, a battle between family and frat ensues.

Seth Rogen is known for playing a stoner in every movie that he’s in (excluding Funny People). In this movie, he proves he can do more than just a stoner. He also provides some good laughs from the audience. Even Rose Byrne provides laughs as the mother. It’s refreshing for the mother to get good laughs. I was surprised by Zac Efron in this movie. After starring in such movies as the harmless yet forgettable High School Musical and the formulaic yet amusingly funny 17 Again, I could tell how much he matured as an actor. Not only is he funny, but he keeps the energy going with the parties, and has great chemistry with the frat boys, especially Dave Franco as the co-leader.

Director Nicholas Stoller does a capable job capturing the realities of a fraternity. Although they made me laugh, I could see most of the funny moments coming from a mile away. Neighbors is so crude, vulgar, and almost uncomfortable to watch that I couldn’t help but laugh. Particularly one sequence had just about everybody in stitches. Like with This Is the End, there are a lot of amusing movie references (i.e. Taxi Driver). But, the only things I didn’t see coming are the countless (by that, I mean, there are A LOT of) dick jokes. They got old wicked fast.

2.5/4