We’re halfway through 2017 and the competition for worst 1990s revival is really hotting up. Can bore-a-thon Power Rangers take the crown? Dare we drag Beauty & The Beast into this? Or are they both safe thanks to bikini-clad Knight-Rider-on-the-beach rehash Baywatch?
The writers of Baywatch think all you want is tits and pecs, and who am I to argue? The original starred David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, most famous for bringing down the Berlin Wall and going down on Mötley Crüe’s drummer, respectively. Their speedos are filled by model-slash-actress Kelly Rohrbach and the Dwayne Rock, as I believe his birth certificate states.
Filling out the cast include Jack Black-lite Jon Bass and Justin Bieber-heavy Zac Efron. Bass plays the chubby nerd. We know this as he’s introduced wearing a Donkey Kong tee and getting his boner trapped in a deck chair. Efron plays amateur vomiter and world class swimmer something-something-I-forget-his-name. This is because the Dwayne Rock insists on giving him a new pretty-boy nickname in every scene, going full meta with ‘High School Musical’ with one.
The movie thinks it can get by on the charms of the Dwayne Rock, the franchise revival specialist (see Fast and Furious parts 5 to 8 for proof), but it lurches into sub-Farrelly gross-out all too frequently. You’re never more than a scene away from a genital joke or corpse jape.
One scene masterfully combines both, having the Dwayne Rock take a snap of Efron investigating the ‘taint’ of a dead Councilman (‘The internet is forever.’). Not that I’m a snob about cadaver comedy - it’s a cinematic staple. From Little Miss Sunshine to Hitchcock’s Rope and The Trouble With Harry, corpses have long been dissected for comedy.
This film doesn’t even have the decency to be short, running four minutes shy of two hours, which includes a gag reel over the credits. The raison d'etre seems to be to see the Dwayne Rock and Efron flounder with improv, like I would flounder bench pressing a tire. Or whatever it is these folk bench press to retain abs.
Worst 90s revival 2017? By a sand-grain…
...yes it is. Unless they churn out a Brittas Empire remake with Ryan Gosling, I think the title is safe.