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Running Time:
1 hr. 56 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Full of cheap jokes that aren't that funny, but fans of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron will still have a good time: they're both unstoppably engaging, but the truth is that this isn't really good enough.

Additional Info:
Zac Efron ... Matt Brody
Priyanka Chopra ... Victoria Leeds
Alexandra Daddario ... Summer Quinn
Kelly Rohrbach ... CJ Parker
Ilfenesh Hadera ... Stephanie Holden
Jon Bass ... Ronnie Greenbaum
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ... Sgt. Ellerbee
Hannibal Buress ... Dave the Tech
Rob Huebel ... Captain Thorpe
Amin Joseph ... Frankie
Jack Kesy ... Leon
Oscar Nuņez ... Councilman Rodriguez
David Hasselhoff ... The Mentor


Dwayne Johnson plays Mitch Buchannon, the muscular leader of the lifeguard team who sees it as his duty not only to save peoples’ lives—which he does, aided by his ultra-competent second-in-command Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), even though his frustrated boss Captain Thorpe (Rob Huebel) and local cop Sgt. Ellerbee (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) repeatedly tell him that this is a police responsibility he shouldn’t take on. But the appearance of drug packets in the sand tells him that some sort of mischief is afoot, and he won’t let up until he puts a stop to it.

Mitch is right, of course: sultry Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra), the owner of a glitzy new seaside club, is masterminding a drug-smuggling operation and buying up nearby properties, using force if necessary, to cement her control. Before he can act on his suspicions, however, he must oversee the selection of new trainees for his team. One is inevitable: cocky, selfish Olympic gold medal winner Matt Brody (Zac Efron), who is nonetheless in the doghouse with the public for ruining the American team’s chances in the relay and whom Mitch is being forced to accept for PR reasons. Another is lovely Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), whom Brody will find irresistible.

The third is Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass), an overweight doofus whose infatuation with buxom lifeguard C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) is so great that just being near her leaves him a blubbering mess. How he could have been chosen despite his manifest ineptitude is obvious: he’s meant to serve whenever needed as an easy comic target—indeed, he’s the focus of the movie’s first boner gag, a long, excruciatingly unfunny bit. For the rest of the movie he becomes the human puppy dog to whom the camera will turn for “hilarious” reaction shots—a truly ignominious fate.

From that point the plot is pretty rote. As the crew become more and more involved in working out the specifics of Leeds’ scheme—an effort that includes such sights as Zac Efron winding up in drag as a disguise. There’s also the obligatory roadblock which removes Mitch temporarily from the team, allowing for his mentor (David Hasselhoff) to pop up and remind him of his mission in life. Not to fret: he will reappear in the big Fourth of July finale, in which fireworks of every sort accompany the villainess’ colorful defeat.

Through the mayhem Dwayne Johnson continues to demonstrate the talent for tongue-in-cheek bravado. but Efron’s dumb beefcake shtick is getting old. In what is essentially a buddy movie for the two, the filmmakers make sporadic effort to provide opportunities for the other cast members to show off on occasion, but the only one who really catches your eye is Jon Bass, and for all the wrong reasons. The guy is apparently meant to be a likable dunce, but he’s annoying from the first moment you see him. For aficionados of the old series, and there must be one or two, be assured that in addition to Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson shows up, very briefly.

So goes yet another misfire based on a crummy old TV series. The success rate for this genre is so poor that one might expect even Hollywood studio executives to take notice, but they keep rummaging through the debris of network television for ideas. Here’s a novel idea: try coming up with a new one.

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