Since when have a bunch of good-looking people in one film ever do us wrong?
Synopsis: Legendary California lifeguard Mitch Buchannon is frustrated when a cocky, hard-partying Olympic swimmer named Matt Brody joins his beach-patrol team. However, the two men must learn to work together when they stumble upon a criminal conspiracy. (Rovi)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, and Priyanka Chopra
Writers: Damian Shannon and Mark Swift
Director: Seth Gordon
Running Time: 116mins
Other than all the characters being lifeguards, this film has nothing in common with the television show that shares its name and that was probably a good thing. They were barely even lifeguards for that matter but that wasn’t the point because the film seemed more interested in taking advantage of their R rating with its mostly crude sense of humor. The problem with that was that it was rarely funny except for a handful of decent moments.
The dynamic between a close-knit team of lifeguards, led by Mitch Buchannon (Johnson), C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), quickly changed with three new additions to the team in Ronnie (Jon Bass), Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), and most notably a disgraced former Olympian named Natt Brody (Efron). These trainees were put through the ringer as they learned that these lifeguards took their job of protecting the beach very seriously.
This film was unoriginal, predictable, and cliche-ridden. In most cases that can be fine as long as it is fun to watch but it wasn’t even that. The back and forth between Buchannon and Brody was fun at first though it got old very fast. Buchannon was sort of likable and Brody was not, despite evolving from an arrogant, selfish, jerk. With a group of good-looking people, Ronnie was there as the token fat guy. The rest were just there and never really stood out, making it easy to not care about them.
When a mysterious businesswoman named Victoria Leeds (Chopra) moved nearby, Buchannon began to notice that something wasn’t right so he and his team took it upon themselves to investigate. Perhaps the fact that it was lifeguards investigating instead of the police that was supposed to be funny but it felt a little too meandering as lifeguards were not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, especially Brody which wasn’t funny either. The film also offered some action sequences that were so CGI-ridden that they were almost unwatchable.
As mentioned, the film was more concerned about crude humor than actually telling a story so there was little story to be had if any. Because of the hijinks and meandering, it did get a little boring after a while and the film’s villain, Leeds, had the odd distinction of being so underdeveloped with her motivations seeming blatantly obvious at the same time. In terms of their investigation, there was maybe some fun to be had and just like the rest of the comedy, it got old very fast.
The acting was decent, however, it couldn’t quite make up for the mediocre writing. Johnson can never not be likable and unfortunately, that can only go so far. His dedication was admirable yet a lot of his lines were cringe-worthy. This was also the case for Chopra as Leeds. She is a great actress still there was just something about her that was completely wrong here. Efron was okay even though his character was unlikable but that was more the writing and the direction than anything else. Although nothing about his character was original, the only redeeming thing about this film was Jon Bass as Ronnie and his relationship with Rorhbach’s C.J.
Overall, this was a boring, unfunny action comedy, wasting the talents of Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and everyone else involved for that matter thanks to its mediocre script and direction. Following the likes of the recent ChiPs adaptation, this just proves that not all classic television shows should be adapted into feature films.
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