How not to smile at the idea of thinking that a series as popular as Alert to Malibu arrives on the big screen. However, the project quickly became a …
How not to smile at the idea of thinking that a series as popular as Alert to Malibu arrives on the big screen. However, the project quickly became a reality a few months ago when the rather quirky cast was presented to the world. Exit David Hasselhoff, David Charvet and Pamela Anderson, the time has come for Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Kelly Rohrbach. A growth firmly anchored in the 2017 era which intrigued more than reassured. Directed by a master of American comedy, Seth Gordon (How to kill your boss, Pay-per-view scam), the film was therefore presented to us in preview. For what result?
Mitch wants you well
Baywatch: Alerte à Malibu sets a frame which, from the start, reminds us of the heyday of the series created by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Gregory J. Bonann. Beach lifeguards who do little more than their job unite to thwart a criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay. At their head, the legendary and much appreciated Mitch Buchannon will have to do with his new recruit, not very involved, the Olympic champion Matt Brody. By their side? Busty young ladies named Summer Quinn (who’s called that in real life?) And CJ Parker. Do you find this pitch too thin to make a quality film? You are not necessarily wrong.
As was the case in 2012 with the release of 21 Jump Street, Paramount Pictures set out to make this revival an adrenaline-charged movie filled with funny, punchy footage. Very quickly, we understand that the director tried to imbibe the work accomplished by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to make Baywatch a decidedly young film. Obviously, references to the series are raining, but the goal is clear and precise: to go above all to a novice audience. You will be treated to a mix, sometimes tasty, sometimes embarrassing, of raw jokes generally revolving around the fly. And that’s not all. Action scenes carried by a Dwayne Johnson at the top of his bodybuilding art, abs crying with truth photoshoped on Zac Efron’s stomach and chest filmed, in slow motion, of a Kelly Rohrbach in full effort. Do you see what you’re getting yourself into? Well it will be ten times worse (or better, depending on your taste).
In that sense, Baywatch: Alert to Malibu had the excellent (but not daring) idea of never taking itself seriously. You will quickly understand that all the characters are mocked and that it is better to take a lot of perspective what is happening in front of you. Nonetheless, this sensation alone is not enough to save the film from its shortcomings. Beyond a scenario as thin as a silk thread, the realization of Seth Gordon can disturb by its lack of general ambition, in particular in artistic term, and especially the redundancy of its quirky side. If the idea of playing on the stereotypes returned by each character is quick to laugh, it does not work throughout the two hours of screening. We sometimes lose consistency, especially when the film wants to play on our emotions,
Note also that the image returned by Baywatch is somewhat backward. If he sometimes enjoys showing us that you have to be “good-looking, tanned and muscular” to be successful as a man or “slim, pretty and busty” to be successful as a woman, that doesn’t work. always. Wanting to make fun of himself too much, the feature film ends up sending back this image that he had perhaps sworn to fight: you have to be good-looking and strong to triumph. One could contradict this thought by invoking the character of Ronnie Greenbaum, a shy and overweight young man, who will succeed in joining the team of Mitch Buchannon. Unfortunately, it is far too little present and ultimately not very endearing enough to take this idea out of our mind. We can’t believe it
As for the characters, and their performers, nothing to complain about. Dwayne Johnson plays a perfect Mitch Buchannon, totally in line with that of David Hasselhoff. The American actor is decidedly very comfortable when it comes to popping pecs and jokes and we can’t imagine a better choice for this role. Zac Efron is really annoying and this is one of the successes of the film. Like a real handsome boy with a dream body, he will make many spectators fantasize, even if his nonchalant side can exasperate him. Alexandra Daddario (True Detective, San Andreas), Kelly Rohrbach and Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) are the “sexy” insurance of the film and often guarantee the show. Although we may regret seeing their shapes rather than their play,
We will note all the same that the special effects of Baywatch are of poor quality and do not enhance the stylistic interest of the feature film. Although they are not present too much, the realization having been shot largely in a natural environment (Miami, Florida, Savannah and Georgia), we would have appreciated an additional effort. Some shots are clearly unnatural, especially those shot at sea, which sometimes limits the viewer’s involvement. Pity.
Baywatch is light-hearted, sometimes funny, and often explosive. But it is far from being a real success as it could be the case, for example, with 21 Jump Street. By dint of wanting to do too much, the realization of Seth Gordon is lost a bit and disappoints where it should have hit hard. If we have a good time, especially when we are young, it is clear that the film will not be remembered, even if we did not really expect it.