Baywatch (2017)

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Baywatch (2017) Movie Poster Image
Stereotypes, sexism, violence in terrible remake.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 37 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

The Baywatch team is theoretically focused on lifesaving, but they ignore their duties in favor of investigating a case that should be handled by law enforcement. Also iffy messages about gender (women are objectified) and masculinity.

Positive role models & representations

Mitch is clearly supposed to be the role model here as an experienced lifeguard. But he's reckless and showy instead of humble and reliable. Matt Brody is supposed to be his foil, an even more foolishly daring man -- but it's hard to tell the two of them apart going by their actions. Women are objectified (female characters' outfits are much more revealing than male characters, and the camera pans up and down women's bodies frequently). A man calls another man names that mock his masculinity: "princess," "butterfly." Scenes of "gay panic" -- a man has to give mouth-to-mouth to another man, a character is recorded touching a man's penis for laughs. 

Violence

More violence than you might expect from a summer popcorn comedy. Offscreen deaths are taken oddly lightly by the movie and played for laughs.A dead body with gory shark bites is shown at length; an extended sequence involves one of the characters being asked to manipulate a dead man's genitals. Characters are frequently in mortal danger, threatened with drowning, shooting, and being beaten to death. Guns are shown and fired. Rescues are unrealistic -- if young viewers watch, parents may want to point out that characters would be injured and/or killed by particular stunts. 

Sex

No actual sex, but lots of flirting, kissing, and crude sequences, such as extended jokes about one character frequently getting an erection and another's inability to stop looking at a woman's breasts. In one sequence, a character manhandles a dead man's genitals in an investigation -- the penis and testicles are shown at length. Female characters are dressed in very brief/revealing costumes (particularly bathing suits).

Language

Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "dammit," "hell," "goddamn," "s--thead," "d--k," "jack off," "balls," "taint," "sucks." One man refers to another's "mangina" (implying he's womanly and weak). Men call women and other men "bitch." 

Consumerism

One character goes to work at a Sprint store; the Sprint logo is shown at length, and the virtues of Samsung phones are extolled. Also Mike's Hard Lemonade and TAG Heuer watches.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Scenes take place at bars and clubs, with characters drinking shots of Scotch and other liquor. One character gets too drunk to participate in an investigation and feels guilty for it later. Drugs (flaca) play a part in a criminal investigation that's a major plot point. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Baywatch is an action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron based on the popular '90s TV series. Unlike the show, the movie takes things to R-rated levels. There's more violence than you might expect, with deaths played for laughs, gun play, and dead bodies (including gory photos of a body with big chunks bitten out of it by a shark). In one long sequence, a character has to manipulate a dead man's genitals (his penis and testicles are shown a lot), and another character treats the scene as if it's funny. There are other "gay panic" scenes -- for instance, a same-sex mouth-to-mouth scene -- and one character calls another things like "bitch," "princess," and "butterfly" to suggest that he's womanly and weak. There's no sex, but you'll see kissing, flirting, and crude sequences in which one character can't stop getting an erection and another can't stop looking at a woman's breasts. Female characters are dressed in very revealing costumes (male characters aren't, although they're often shown shirtless), and the camera pans up and down their bodies frequently. They also run in slow motion, a gimmick imported from the TV show. Strong language includes many variations of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "goddamn," and more. Drinking plays a part in a subplot, with a character neglecting his duties in order to drink shots, and drugs are the focus of the movie's main plot.

User Reviews

Adult Written byEden a. May 27, 2017
Whoever is reading this review and planing on going to this movie with their loved ones need to know that I have never felt so uncomfortable from a movie. I... Continue reading
Parent Written byc g. June 1, 2017

Great Movie

Baywatch is a good movie, it is funny and is silly. They had a great cast as well. I saw it before my 13 year old daughter saw it with some of her friends. I to... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjosu91903 May 24, 2017

Pretty amazing

the quality of this film is pretty cool, it has some crude humour but besides that it is comedic and funny.
Adult Written byStevie111 May 25, 2017

Baywatch is funny but nothing special

I enjoyed Baywatch despite going to it expecting to be disappointed. It is somewhat silly and not completely original, but I still didn't think it was bad.... Continue reading

What's the story?

In beautiful Emerald Bay, swimmers and beachgoers alike are kept safe by BAYWATCH, an elite band of lifeguards led by Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson). Along with second-in-command Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) and stalwart lifeguard CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), Mitch keeps the beaches safe from drownings, shark attacks, and bands of roving thieves and perps. As summer begins, the Baywatch crew has three new recruits: studly-yet-reckless disgraced Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron), dorky-yet-sweet Ronnie (Jon Bass), and wide-eyed Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario). But the newbies aren't destined to have an easy summer up on the tower: Nefarious businesswoman Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) is making some very shady real-estate deals, just as envelopes of a drug called flaca keep washing up on the beach. Are they related? It's going to take some mighty teamwork -- and a few slow-mo runs up the beach -- to find out. 

Is it any good?

What a shame to take this charming cast and maroon them in a morass of stale jokes and sub-sitcom-level plot twists in a remake that reads as a missed opportunity. There are a few moments when Baywatch seems to have a sense of humor about its cheesy origins and the silliness of a remake, chiefly when Matt points out that a group of lifeguards who sneak into a fancy party in order to catch a drug dealer sounds like the plot of a "far-fetched TV show." But such ironic high points are few and far between in this comedy that reaches for "escapist summer humor" but instead lands on "embarrassment for all involved." Even The Rock can't make us love a movie with three running jokes about penises, none of which is funny or original. 

But it's other issues that render this movie icky, rather than just bland and forgettable: The female characters are sidelined, given little to do besides run slowly up and down the beach and smile patiently as the camera (and every male character onscreen) ogles their bodies. The most they're given to do during the movie's frequent CGI-heavy danger-and-rescue scenes is idle a boat in the water to wait for their male coworkers to finish the heroics. Worse, one male character is frequently called "princess" or "bitch," and a coworker records a video of him touching the penis of a dead man (The Office's Oscar Nunez, which makes the scene even weirder for fans of that show). Ha ha, like he's gay, see? Because that's funny. And it's a dead guy's penis, so that's funny, too. Right? Right? Hey, where are you going? No thanks, movie. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Baywatch treats its female characters. Why do you think they're dressed in lifeguard uniforms that are different from those of the male characters? Why would the movie want to show female bodies more than male ones? What message does that send about gender portrayals?

  • Were you expecting as much violence as the movie has? How was it depicted? Does the movie's comedic tone affect the impact of the violence?

  • Is it funny when one male character calls another names like "bitch" and "princess"? What message does that send about masculinity? And why would a man be upset at the idea of giving another man mouth-to-mouth?

  • Why do you think studios make movies based on old TV shows. What audience are they hoping to attract? Do you think it works?

  • And why do you think so many movies based on shows amp up sex/violence/language and other content? Does that make them more compelling or interesting in general? What about Baywatch in particular?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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