Susan Granger’s review of “Baywatch” (Paramount Pictures)
This raunchy, big-screen riff on TV’s ‘90s action-comedy “Baywatch” kicks off the silly summer season with tryouts for the elite team of tanned, toned lifeguards that patrol Emerald Beach.
Under the watchful eye of no-nonsense Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson), the wannabees are narrowed down to pudgy Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass), sassy Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and cocky Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a disgraced bad boy who thinks his two Olympic gold medals should make him a shoo-in.
Meanwhile, Mitch realizes there’s a drug smuggler in their midst, and he suspects slinky, scheming Victoria Leeds (Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra), who just opened the posh Huntley Club and seems determined to acquire all the nearby coastal real estate.
Since the local policeman (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) won’t take him seriously, Mitch realizes it’s up to him and his squad to preserve the sanctity of their beachfront.
Working from Damian Shannon and Mark Swift’s smart-ass screenplay, director Seth Gordon (“Identity Thief,” “Horrible Bosses”) relies on lots of campy running in slo-mo, and it’s as cheeky as the zippered, red spandex swimsuits worn by Mitch’s sexy cohorts C.J. Parker (model Kelly Rohrbach) and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera).
Showing a snarky streak, Mitch steadfastly refuses to refer to Matt by name, dismissively calling him One Direction, N’Sync, Bieber and High School Musical – as their chiseled ‘bro’ chemistry clicks. Less amusing are the grossed-out male genitalia jokes.
There are a couple of exciting sea-rescue sequences, plus nostalgic cameos by TV stars David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson.
Full Disclosure: My son, Don Granger, is one of the Executive Producers.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Baywatch” breezes in with a slyly splashy 6. Skip the sunscreen and stay for the post-credit bloopers.