Review / ‘Baywatch’ (MA) *

WHEN “Baywatch” was polluting the ether for 11 seasons beginning in 1989, my stepdaughter considered it so silly that she refused to watch it on TV and now wonders why I looked at the adult, big-screen version.

To give her mother a giggle and justify my existence to the editor was why. I’m confident her snoring didn’t really disturb either of the three others in the cinema. There was no way I was going to inflict “Wonder Woman” on her. Or on myself. Even a film reviewer can have sensitive feelings!

Writers Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz have given director Seth Gordon a screenplay for a brash, braggadocio, blustery, blundering, barmy, boisterous, big-bosomed bundle of brainlessness. And in its own way, fun for its intended audience, who, alas, will have to persuade an adult to accompany them to comply with the law about film classifications. And rightly so.

Dwayne Johnson plays Mitch, employed to lead the lifesavers who ensure that Emerald Beach is a safe place. Mitch is a good guy, loved by all, leading a team providing an essential service from somewhere near the ground floor of social substance. And it’s time to recruit new members.

One aspiring applicant is Matt (Zac Efron), a boozy, brash bloke with two Olympic gold medals for swimming and an inflated self-esteem not supported by his team ethos. It’s immediately obvious that Matt and Mitch aren’t going to become pals until the last reel.

What magical influences bring reconciliation about? Well, they’re no better than you might expect. Local government corruption. A jurisdictional conflict between Mitch’s rank of lieutenant (!) and police sergeant Ellerbee. A couple of murders. Petty and major crime, thefts and drug dealing. Those and more delivered on an improbability scale barely strong enough to cause the needle on anybody’s bullshit meter to tremble.

At all cinemas

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