Beaches, Bathing Suits, And Finally On The Big Screen, 'Baywatch' NPR movie critic Bob Mondello reviews a movie that could only come out in the summer — Baywatch, starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.
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Beaches, Bathing Suits, And Finally On The Big Screen, 'Baywatch'

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Beaches, Bathing Suits, And Finally On The Big Screen, 'Baywatch'


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Beaches, Bathing Suits, And Finally On The Big Screen, 'Baywatch'

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And now beaches, bathing suits and "Baywatch" - "Baywatch" on the big screen. On TV, the series turned out to be critic-proof, no doubt the movie will too. That has not kept NPR's Bob Mondello from filing this review.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: It's a beach in Florida this time. I know you care because we're all here for the plot, right? And head lifeguard Mitch Buchannon is now The Rock, not the Hoff.


DWAYNE JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) Our team is the elite of the elite, the heart and soul of this very beach.

MONDELLO: Also the pecs, glutes and washboard abs of this very beach which is apparently in peril, though you'd not guess that from the less than rigorous lifeguard tryouts Mitch is holding or the snark he throws at Zac Efron's stuck-up Olympic swimmer who tries to get out of those tryouts. Mitch won't even utter the kid's name.


JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) Hey, One Direction, you here for the qualifiers?

ZAC EFRON: (As Matt Brody) I'm Matt Brody. I don't have to try out. I've got two gold medals.

JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) Hey, Steph.

ILFENESH HADERA: (As Stephanie Holden) Hey.

JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) New Kids on the Block here is from Iowa.

EFRON: (As Matt Brody) Oh, man.

HADERA: (As Stephanie Holden) Really?

JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) Let me ask you this - a lot of oceans in Iowa?

HADERA: (As Stephanie Holden) No, just ponds and lakes and cocky pretty boys. Hey, Mitch, what happened to that last pretty boy recruit we had?

JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) He died.

EFRON: (As Matt Brody) What is this, lifeguard hazing?

MONDELLO: Yeah, pretty much. Dwayne Johnson is endearing enough to keep that boy band name thing going a lot longer than you'd think he could. Efron's decently amusing too, mostly at playing dumb.


ALEXANDRA DADDARIO: (As Summer Quinn) Did you just look at my boobs?

EFRON: (As Matt Brody) I...

DADDARIO: (As Summer Quinn) You should look at my face.

EFRON: (As Matt Brody) I'm trying, but it's so close to your boobs.

MONDELLO: You'll note that the gals are a take-charge bunch these days, not that Pamela Anderson wasn't. No emails, please. No one would accuse the films women of having personalities, but the filmmakers decided to let them make the jokes about physicality, not be the butt of them.


DADDARIO: (As Summer Quinn) Why does she always look like she's running in slo-mo?

JON BASS: (As Ronnie Greenbaum) You see it too?

MONDELLO: It's the cinematic equivalent of air quotes. The guys, meanwhile, get the gross-out stuff - genitalia caught in a lounge chair, a trip to the morgue where the talk turns scrotal - actually, the guy talk frequently takes that turn. And when nudity is called for, who ends up naked? The pudgy guy who doesn't realize he's in a co-ed shower.


BASS: (As Ronnie Greenbaum, singing) Oh, oh, oh.

KELLY ROHRBACH: (As CJ Parker) Damn, Ronnie.

BASS: (As Ronnie Greenbaum, screaming).

ROHRBACH: (As CJ Parker) Never really heard a guy sing that song, but you're really good.

BASS: (As Ronnie Greenbaum) Thank you.

ROHRBACH: (As CJ Parker) By the way, when we shower in here, we keep our suits on.

MONDELLO: Females empowered, males embarrassed, all played with bathing suits skimpy enough that you figure there must be a spandex shortage in Florida. Which is guilty pleasure-ish fun for a while until director Seth Gordon feels the need to tell an actual story involving real estate deals and a gorgeous villain in evening gowns.


JOHNSON: (As Mitch Buchannon) Drugs, murder, dead body on our beach, and it all started once she took over.

EFRON: (As Matt Brody) Am I the only one that thinks this is clearly a job for the police?

MONDELLO: Unlike the setup, the story founders and cramps like a tourist who swam too soon after an all-you-can-eat buffet. It doesn't quite sink "Baywatch."


EFRON: (As Matt Brody) All things considered, things could have got a lot worse.

MONDELLO: That's fair. For ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, I'm Bob Mondello.


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