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Baywatch

‘Everything old is new again’ is a term to which Hollywood subscribes. Nothing is ever discarded with old ideas re-heated for new generations. Television has provided an abundance of material for films to plunder. An unlikely candidate is the 90’s series ‘Baywatch’. Featuring beefed up dudes and scantily clad ladies, ‘Baywatch’ was a huge hit and gave actor David Hasslehoff another shot at stardom. It was also a creative abyss with the writing and acting low on the radar. Nevertheless it leaps from beach to screen in all its gaudy sun-kissed glory with its tacky surface complete.

The Baywatch squad is an elite team of lifeguards ready for action. Roaming the beach ensuring beach-goers’ safety is ensured, the squad’s leader Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) maintains a strict regime. His efforts quickly become undermined by new recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron) whose free-wheeling attitude annoys Mitch. They don’t have long to argue when a body washes ashore. Discovering the deceased was part of an enormous drug trafficking ring, Mitch and his team aim to clean the beaches of this noxious form of human seaweed.

‘Baywatch’ continues the trend of re-imaging TV shows as comedies by ramping up the kitsch factor. It never takes itself seriously like the occasionally over-earnest TV series with crude gags on high rotation. The threadbare plot is there to facilitate the next slice of below the belt humour and witty by-play. To its credit the ‘Police Academy’-style screenplay ensures the performers embody their silly characters and gives them something to latch onto. Johnson, Efron and their co-stars throw themselves into the smut with a gusto that’s to be commended.

Seth Gordon directs with a light touch and times the gags well. Pacing is everything in comedies and there’s barely a moment to be bored. There are occasions that are just as appalling as the TV series although anyone expecting an Oscar-worthy movie is watching the wrong thing. ‘Baywatch’ is meant to be dumb, over the top fun and it mostly succeeds. The action sequences are exciting as it mirrors its television forebear well in that area.

Not quite a cinematic abomination, ‘Baywatch’ is dopey entertainment for those liking this type of movie. The cinematography captures the film’s comic-book feel well and the cast are clearly having a good time. Once is enough for this motley crew though as the thought of another sequel would be as bad as hearing original star David Hasslehoff warble another shonky tune.

Rating out of 10: 5

Snatched

Goldie Hawn makes a long-awaited return to movie screens with ‘Snatched’. Utilising her comedic skills to good effect, it’s nice seeing her again. Roles for ladies of a ‘certain age’ are scarce in the youth-obsessed industry that is Hollywood with dozens of great actresses falling by the wayside. Hawn has bided her time to settle on a comeback. ‘Snatched’ ably fits the bill. Her gift for raising laughs has remained undimmed proving why audiences have enjoyed her work over the years.

Emily (Amy Schumer) is looking forward to a vacation to a glorious paradise with her boyfriend. When he dumps her on the eve of their travels, she decides to invite her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn). Complete opposites with Emily’s carefree ways an anathema to Linda’s careful demeanour. Whilst working through their differences, they are kidnapped. Jungle escapades, wicked thieves and mayhem ensure as mother and daughter partake in an unusual bonding session.

Without Goldie Hawn’s presence ‘Snatched’ would be totally forgettable. Predictable and prone to toilet humour for laughs, it goes for easy cheap gags than crafting anything witty. Descending to the gutter is simple – working at creating genuine mirth takes talent. There’s not much here as Emily and Linda go from one ridiculous scenario to the next. Their escapades get more outlandish, robbing the narrative of believability. Hawn and Schumer make for a good team even if the script falls apart quicker than the quipped lines.

‘Snatched’ falls apart mostly due to poor editing. Scenes change so fast you wonder how characters got from A to B. Jonathan Levine’s pedestrian direction goes through the motions without much flair or originality. The plot has been seen many times before with only the leads’ chemistry and sharp comic timing making it watchable. The tropical setting looks nice and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been much of a hardship to accept a movie shot in paradise.

If you’re after easy, if crude, laughs then ‘Snatched’ is for you. There’s an audience for simplistic humour where brain cells aren’t taxed. Hawn still looks great and hopefully with a better story it won’t be too long before she graces screens again.

Rating out of 10: 5


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