Tagged: baywatch

Box Office Democracy: Baywatch

The best part of Baywatch was that everyone on screen seemed completely invested in making it a good movie.  It isn’t a good movie— it isn’t even particularly close to being a good movie— but the cast is willing to push as hard as they can to make it better.  Baywatch is elevated from the train wreck I’m sure it is on the page in to a simply bland, kind of mediocre, film.  Baywatch is a reasonably charming medley of punchless comedy, unintelligible story, and a generous amount of scantily clad pretty people.  It’s the kind of movie to see on an exceptionally hot day, or if your first choice movie is sold out and you’ve already put in so much effort to park at the mall.

I paid careful attention to the story in Baywatch and I’m still not entirely sure what was going on.  There’s Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra), a new-in-town rich person who has some kind of scheme to buy up a bunch of property and create some sort of massive private beach club.  She’s also a drug kingpin, but no one for the entire movie seems to care about the drugs at all so they end up being white crystalline breadcrumbs that just serve to tie things together.  Because of civic corruption/incompetence, the only people who can stop this nefarious scheme are the local lifeguards led by Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and joined by pretty boy newcomer Matt Brody (Zac Efron), attractive newbie Summer Quinn (Alexandra D’addario), attractive veteran CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), attractive veteran with fewer lines Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), and not-so-attractive local wannabe Ronnie (Jon Bass).  They are an elite cadre of small town lifeguards who also excel in detective work and infiltration techniques.  They do an awful lot of meta-commentary on how insane it is that they all wear so many hats but it is never quite a substitute for having actual narrative justification.

I could forgive the flimsy plot if Baywatch was outrageously funny, but it just isn’t.  Most of the humor is Johnson dunking on Efron in some capacity or another and you’ve seen that relationship a million times, probably half a dozen times where the dunker was The Rock, and most of those times it was being done better.  There’s a fantastic sequence about someone getting their penis stuck in a wooden chair but you can probably get to most of that joke just from reading this sentence.  It’s not that I never laughed or that the charm of the cast was never strong enough to deliver some average material— but the stakes are higher now.  21 Jump Street was a legitimately hilarious movie adapted from a reasonably irrelevant old TV show and it came out five years ago.  You can’t do this much worse this much later and expect to get a pass.

One of the more fun moments in the 21 Jump Street movie is when Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise make cameos as their characters from the original series.  It’s a cute nod and a bit surprising, especially considering Depp’s latter-day star power, and then they move on to finishing up their movie.  They try to recreate this in Baywatch with David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson and fail on just about every level.  To start with, both characters have identically named analogues in the movie and they bring this up so the Mitch Buchannon has a mentor who is also named Mitch Buchannon, and our Mitch works with a CJ Parker and then at the end we’re introduced to former employee Casey Jean Parker.  I know we’re not supposed to be thinking too much about this movie but that’s bizarre enough to leap off the screen and smack you in the face.  They also take all of the surprise out of the cameos (including one that’s the closing joke of the movie) by giving both Hasselhoff and Anderson prominent billing in the opening credits.  Instead of being a cute surprise, it’s something you’re waiting for and trying to figure out during the slower moments.  If Johnny Depp can set aside his ego to do something cute, you would think Hasselhoff and Anderson could too.

Baywatch the movie ends up feeling an awful lot like Baywatch the TV show.  It’s a movie that doesn’t feel the need to hold itself to the same standard of production and narrative nuance because they have a bit of tawdry sex appeal and the charisma of The Rock.  There’s enough charm here to pull through the stuff that doesn’t work, but not quite enough to feel like a movie worth the price of a ticket.  Much like the original show, Baywatch is the perfect movie for a gap in a TV schedule or to randomly catch on a plane… but it isn’t quite ready for prime time.

Mike Gold: Yep. It’s A Bird! Deal With It!

Yesterday, Frank Coniff, a.k.a. TV’s Frank, revealed a little-known event: the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema folks who are having those women-only screenings of Wonder Woman that’s upsetting the snowflake boys so much, also held another such event. They did a screening of Baywatch – but just for those people who wanted to actually see Baywatch. I don’t think it did very well.

Nor did the snowflake boys. They are really pissed about these women-only screenings of Wonder Woman. They say it’s discrimination. They say it’s sexist. They say that if there were men-only screenings of, say, the next James Bond movie those very same women would be picketing the theater. Yeah, that high-heeled shoe sure is uncomfortable on the other foot, isn’t it?

Well, they’re right. It is discrimination. How does it feel, snowflakes? As a man who these gerbils respect and some worship said before many of them were born… Get a life!

To give lip service to sympathy, these guys have had a rough couple of years. They had to deal with the fact that the new heroic lead in the Star Wars series is a woman. In Doctor Strange, the Ancient One was morphed into a woman, and a white woman at that. The new Star Trek teevee series, if it actually ever gets on the air, stars two women in the leading roles. One is black, the other is Asian, for those of you who are still pissed that Idris Elba played the part of Heimdall in the Thor movies.

You know why this act of discrimination doesn’t bother me? Well, men have been routinely excluding women for several millennia. Private clubs, public bars, juries, the polls, combat… you know, we guys can live with a couple of women-only screenings of Wonder Woman. It ain’t gonna hurt nobody, and, quite frankly, if it brings more women into the world of superhero movies, that inures to the benefit of Geek Culture overall. More, better movies for everybody.

Hollywood has been saying women do not go to heroic fantasy movies, and they point to the box office failures of such films as Catwoman, Elektra and Supergirl. Personally, I think the fact that all of those movies really sucked had something to do with the revenue deficit. I’m looking to Wonder Woman to change that. Talk about your superhero feats.

I think these screenings sound like a lot of fun. If not for the snowflakes pissing in the fountain and my own political sensibilities, I’d be jealous. I wish the snowflakes were jealous as well. That’s far more adult than their current behavior.

Damn near the entire ComicMix staff already has their tickets for Wonder Woman, with the arguable exception of Glenn Hauman, who is in Ireland right now teaching falcons how to write code. Did I mention our staff is more than 50% women? Seriously. How many of the snowflakes wanted to read Emily’s piece about Wonder Woman fashions yesterday? Only those with girlfriends. Both of them. Buh-dump-bump.

Some snowflakes say they are going to boycott Wonder Woman. They’re too late. If they wanted to do some good, they should have boycotted Batman v. Superman. But for those few who do give Wonder Woman a pass, hey, there’s always seating available for Baywatch.

The Point Radio: The Significantly Talent Krista Allen

You’ll instantly recognize Krista Allen from so many great roles, ranging from X-FILES to LIAR LIAR to her latest, the buzz worthy comedy SIGNIFICANT MOTHER on The CW. She talks about her journey and her appreciation of smart TV writing. Plus we begin our look at the new television season with NBC’s THE PLAYER. Wesley Snipes and Phillip Winchester talk about the high concept thriller, created by former DC Comics writer, John Rogers.

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