I hated in college when I’d strike up a conversation with a well-read girl who would, after discussing the latest movie that was out, talk about how much better the book was. I’d have to own up to the fact that I never read it. I feel a lot better when movies are based on TV shows like this, and I can say, “I never watched it..”
I’m guessing anyone who loved Charlie’s Angels, or 21 and 22 Jump Street, will love this, too.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing Mitch, the role made famous by David Hasselhoff (the movie ruins the surprise cameos by him and Pamela Anderson by listing them in the opening credits). He runs Emerald Bay, talking to and rescuing everyone on the beach. Each year there’s a tryout for new trainees. This time, he’s dealing with a Ryan Locke type. Zac Efron plays Matt Brody, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who threw up in the pool after a night of partying. That ended all his endorsements. An arrest and plea deal means he has to do some time as a lifeguard. There’s Summer Quinn, which sounds like a Bond girl name. She’s played by Alexandra Daddario (with Johnson in San Andreas, and supposedly with Efron in real life). My wife and I couldn’t decide if we thought her eyes were beautiful or freaky. We felt the same way about Kelly Rohrbach. And strangely, the best jiggling breasts belonged to Dwayne Johnson and the prettiest woman in this was India’s singer/actress and one-time Miss World — Priyanka Chopra (Quantico). Unfortunately, she’s never in one of those red bathing suits. She’s in nice clothes, and plays the villain.
It’s a shame that the second half of the movie focuses so much on being an action picture instead of the satirical parody that worked better in the first half.
Jon Bass (Loving) plays the schlubby nice guy pining for C.J. (played by model Kelly Rohrbach). He has a few funny scenes, but mostly the script relies on a few too many boner jokes. Perhaps if I were in 8th grade, I would’ve found them hysterical. There were four screenwriters that worked on this. One of them should’ve been a bit more clever with the humor.
Director Seth Gordon, who did one of my favorite documentaries of all-time (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters), but went on to do a lot of disappointing comedies (Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief), really needed a better script.
When drugs wash up on the shore, the lifeguards move into action. In one of the few jokes they kept repeating that was funny — they start investigating, even though they’re not cops or Coast Guard.
Two comedic actors I love weren’t given enough to do: Oscar Nunez (The Office), who plays it straight as a corrupt politician; and the always hysterical Hannibal Buress. It’s fun to hear that the man who helped bring Bill Cosby down, has a line in this movie where he says the word “nefarious.” In one of the rare, recent interviews Cosby gave, he used that word to describe his current predicament.
The soundtrack was a tad disappointing. I’ve grown tired of The Beach Boys on film. Two Commodores songs was enough; The Chemical Brothers and some hardcore hip-hop, including the start of the film with Notorious B.I.G. would be cool, if not for that song being so overplayed.
The movie had one of the oldest, and predictable, storylines. Watching that got old, but during a hot day, it’s not a horrible way to spend two hours in an air-conditioned movie theatre.
I was a little confused by the closing credits, which listed two NFL players — Vernon Davis and San Diego’s own Arian Foster — playing themselves. I never saw them in the movie. Perhaps their scenes was cut out.
Even though I felt it could’ve been funnier, audiences are going to love it.
2 stars out of 5.