This summer is chock full of studio driven, mass-appeal, action blockbusters leaving little space for anything not trying to gross a billion dollars. From the new King Arthur to the fifth Pirates movie, this summer’s slate is shaping up to be a disappointment. But like a diamond in the rough, Baywatch has come to save us.
Baywatch is a satirical look at the sheer amount of bad blockbuster movies being pushed out of the gaping anal cavity of studios like Sony and Paramount. Baywatch satirizes every aspect of these films, from the beautiful, yet acting-incompetent cast, to the generic plot. Even the concept of the film is clearly satirizing the trend of rebooting films and shows from the 1980’s that no one wants. I mean who would honestly ever want a rebooted Baywatch movie? No one! And that is where the genius of this film lies.
First the film tries to capture how unfunny blockbuster movies are. Every time a joke is said, the theater is completely silent — a hilarious take on the lack of effort in jokes in these types of films. Baywatch even goes the extra mile to have an R rating, yet doesn’t even show any sexual scenes or creatively harsh language, satirizing how these films try so hard to be safe enough to be PG-13. Even an R rated film is just as terrible playing it safe.
Next, the film purposefully has terrible CGI. Every action scene, from its clever take on the “every film with a jet ski scene is bad” to its scenes where Johnson saves people from a burning boat, utilizes CGI that is laughable by today’s standards. Here Johnson tries to show us how CGI-heavy blockbuster films have lost their sense of reality, as well as their originality.
Finally, Baywatch makes sure to capitalize on the satire by having the characters point out how “cheesy” the plot and dialogue sounds and how “stupid” the original TV show was in having lifeguards solve crimes. This over-the-top obviousness is purposefully done badly, and never truly lands, in order to satirize the recent 21 Jump Street films which satirized the original TV show and current day reboots. So Baywatch not only satirizes blockbuster movies by being so purposefully bad, it satirizes films which try to satirize blockbuster reboots! It’s purely self-referential, comedy genius!
In the end, Baywatch is a satirical masterpiece that doesn’t deserve the harsh reaction it’s received from critics. Anyone who watches and thinks it’s a bad movie isn’t looking deep enough into the film’s message. It’s too smart of a movie for critics, and they hate great cinema, as Johnson has pointed out on Twitter recently.
In conclusion, the perfect quote to sum up the films that Baywatch satirizes was said by Zac Efron’s character Matt Brody, when Brody sits down in a movie theater in the middle of the film to watch the fake movie “WatchBay.” As he put it: “This movie fucking sucks.”