The official transition to the Worst of 2017 cycle we start with comedy. In an interesting coincidence we also had one of the worst reviewed comedies of the year released this very week in Daddy’s Home 2 (currently at 16%), but it was not released concurrently in the US and UK. Bummer. So we stuck with our original plan as it was quite the doozy in its own right. That’s right! We’re watching the Dwayne Johnson/Zac Efron vehicle Baywatch. Following the wild success of 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street we were treated to not one, but two unnecessary adaptations of niche 80s/90s shows in Baywatch and CHiPs. Both turned out poorly. Now we get to find out just how poorly Baywatch turned out. Let’s go!
Baywatch (2017) – BMeTric: 46.5
(I kind of love this ratings graph. So you can see it starting high (people who haven’t seen the film but like the idea of the film chiming in like dummies) and then dropping once people actually start seeing it. But that overcorrects a bit, as more and more of the “fans” see it corrects back up. But the interesting bit is that once it drops on VOD the rating goes down again. The mean IMDb rating is somewhere around 6.0 so it basically corrected back to what will ultimately be around its eventual rating of slightly below-average. I just find that fascinating. It is hard to find films that really teeter on the edge of good/bad. To get 70K votes in a few months as well? I’m always stunned by how “popular” current movies are, they get so many more votes than even popular films from the 90s.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – [The movie] features long periods of too-sincere homilies about teamwork, weirdly gratuitous brutality (one innocuous character is subjected to a grotesquely grisly death) and an extended corpse-penis joke which, in the dishonorable tradition of “Dirty Grandpa,” subjects a character played by Zac Efron to humiliation in a way that’s not even stealthily homophobic. On the plus side, the movie has a pervading air of crass amiability about it—it’s almost like a two-hour end-credits gag reel. (Nevertheless, it contains an end credits gag reel.) But as I said, if you saw the trailer, you got the best the movie has to offer.
(Hmmmm. So let me get this straight. Two films based on older television series (CHiPs being the other) were released the same year and both were overtly homophobic? The gay panic riddles the CHiPs trailer. They seem to have hidden it well here with Baywatch. Which makes it all the more disappointing.)
(See this actually doesn’t look bad. It at least tries to do what the original did. They at least avoided what CHiPs did which was overtly use three or four gay panic scenes in the advertising. It was to the point where I thought the movie might have been called Gay Panic: The Movie. But I was shocked by the reviews because this trailer looks decent.)
Directors – Seth Gordon – (Known For: Horrible Bosses; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Identity Thief; BMT: Baywatch; Notes: Director of acclaimed documentary King of Kong. Parlayed that into several feature films and a whole mess of television shows, most recently The Goldbergs.)
Writers – Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz (based on the series “Baywatch” created by) – (Known For: Soul Surfer; BMT: Baywatch; Notes: Also the creators of the Hulk Hogan television series Thunder in Paradise, so basically legends.)
Gregory J. Bonann (based on the series “Baywatch” created by) – (BMT: Baywatch; Notes: See above. Legend.)
Jay Scherick and David Ronn (story by) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: I Spy; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: BMT faves. Just got a pilot picked up with the following synopsis: hard as nail female CIA agent gets partners with self-absorbed male agent trained to use sex and seduction to keep America safe… … Bad TV Tuesday, anyone?)
Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (story by) – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Night at the Museum 2; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Herbie Fully Loaded; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; Hell Baby; Reno 911!: Miami; Let’s Go to Prison; BMT: Taxi; Baywatch; The Pacifier; Notes: Prolific screenwriters who even wrote a whole book on how best to sell-out in Hollywood. Part of The State and Reno 911!)
Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (screenplay by) – (Known For: Freddy vs. Jason; BMT: Friday the 13th; Baywatch; Notes: This finishes their filmography having just watched the Friday the 13th films they wrote. Writing the upcoming Aladdin film, so they are on the rise.)
Actors – Dwayne Johnson – (Known For: Moana; Fast & Furious 8; Fast & Furious 7; San Andreas; Furious 6; The Other Guys; Central Intelligence; Hercules; Faster; Fast & Furious 5; The Mummy Returns; Pain & Gain; Get Smart; The Scorpion King; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Snitch; Welcome to the Jungle; Race to Witch Mountain; Gridiron Gang; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Jem and the Holograms; Southland Tales; You Again; Reno 911!: Miami; Planet 51; Walking Tall; The Game Plan; BMT: Doom; Baywatch; Be Cool; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: Still known widely by his WWE monicker The Rock. He is amazingly one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood now. What he’s got charisma in spades.)
Zac Efron – (Known For: The Disaster Artist; Bad Neighbours 2; Hairspray; Bad Neighbours; 17 Again; The Lorax; We Are Your Friends; The Paperboy; Parkland; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; Liberal Arts; At Any Price; Me and Orson Welles; Future BMT: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; That Awkward Moment; The Lucky One; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; BMT: Baywatch; New Year’s Eve; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Broke out with the High School Musical Series. Has struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism during his career, but appears to be clean now.)
Alexandra Daddario – (Known For: San Andreas; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; The Squid and the Whale; Bereavement; Future BMT: Texas Chainsaw 3D; The Layover; The House; Hall Pass; Burying the Ex; The Babysitters; The Hottest State; BMT: Baywatch; The Choice; Notes: Made her acting debut on All My Children. I recognize her more from her various television roles than her movie work.)
Budget/Gross – $69 million / Domestic: $58,060,186 (Worldwide: $177,856,751)
(Not super great domestically, but potentially okay overall. We won’t be seeing Baywatch 2 though. They were obviously expecting a 21 Jump Street level take which is closer to $140/$200 million. Not even close.)
#35 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre
(This is just above the Tom Hanks classic Dragnet. They kind of blew it in 2002 / 2003 by somehow released 11 buddy action films in those two years and audiences rebelled. This included things like future BMT Bad Company starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. It has come back over the past ten years, and is a steady genre releasing three films this year … all terrible.)
#47 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre
(Ah I remember that boom (it included the recently watched Beverly Hillbillies). I feel like I’m continually surprised at how many films are made that are based on television shows. Near Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Otherwise known as the worst one.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (38/201): Baywatch takes its source material’s jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original’s campy charm — and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows.
(Which is basically what 21 Jump Street did right. They took the ridiculous thing (cops going undercover in a high school) and took it to its logical conclusion (everyone basically doesn’t believe they are actually high school students). Here it doesn’t seem like they took the original’s hook (attractive people in skimpy outfits solve crimes for some reason on a beach) and took it anywhere at all. And that’s a shame.)
Poster – Sklogwatch (C+)
(A poster is a delicate thing. You want it to be artistic, tell a story, and sell a product. This seems singularly focused on the last point. The Rock and some hotties (looking at you Efron) are here to save the day and capture your heart. Let’s throw their pics on the poster and put a weird giant wave behind them. That’s about it. That being said, great font game guys. That ‘A’ with the lifeguard station is bomb. I’m putting you above average just for that.)
Tagline(s) – Beaches ain’t ready (D)
(Ohhhh nooooooo. This is like 7 levels too high, guys. Reel it back in. I know the entire movie is based on making something so stupid that it might go all the way around and become good again but this is unfortunate. While this secretly might be a very good tagline. I can do nothing but hate it. Sorry.)
Keyword(s) – lifeguard; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.2 Piranha 3DD (2012); 61.7 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004); 54.3 Lovewrecked (2005); 52.9 Aquamarine (2006); 51.3 Sand Sharks (2012); 47.5 Bait (III) (2012); 46.5 Baywatch (2017); 36.7 The To Do List (2013); 34.7 Joe Dirt (2001); 33.5 The Lifeguard (2013);
(Oooo, I like that it isn’t the top. Most of these are kind of crap though. Like Piranha 3DD and Joe Dirt I don’t think will be done in our lifetimes (perhaps our grandchildren will do it on a throwback week for the BMT News Network, BMTNN). The only safe bet is Cody Banks to be honest.)
Notes – Zac Efron gave Dwayne Johnson all the names to call him in the movie, like One Direction. (This sounds like something Zac Efron would say but isn’t true)
In an interview, Priyanka Chopra said that the role of the main antagonist was written for a man, but the director changed the role and the script upon meeting her. (This sounds like something Priyanka Chopra would say but isn’t true)
After scathing reviews poured in from critics and fans alike, Dwayne Johnson tweeted that the film wasn’t made for critics. (This sounds like something Dwayne Johnson would say but isn’t true)
Nina Dobrev, Ashley Benson, Alexandra Shipp, Shelley Hennig, Bianca A. Santos, and Denyse Tontz were considered for the role of Summer. (Nina Dobrev! Of Flatliners and XxX: The Return of Xander Cage fame?)
Robert Ben Garant was going to write and direct the film.
Jeremy Garelick was set to write and direct the film. (love me some alternate directors)
Pamela Anderson also performs a cameo at the very movie’s end but, like the original Mitch Buchanon appearance, all is spoiled from the beginning since their names are listed at the initial credits. (Ha. That’s pretty stupid.)
Cameo…David Hasselhoff appears in a scene with this “Mitch” where they interact and call each other “Mitch”.