The original television show Baywatch was cancelled after only one season. The star, David Hasselhoff took over and brought it back in first run syndication and added Pamela Anderson (CJ) and Nicole Eggert (Summer) and it became a hit. The main attraction were CJ and Summer running in slow motion with their jiggly parts doing all the work.


It was a fanboy's delight as there were always several shots of CJ and Summer gittin' jiggy! Easy peasy. To balance things out for female watchers, David Charvet was added as cheesecake. The show became not only a big hit here in the states, but also internationally. Anderson became huge - in other ways than her boobies. Then the show split into Baywatch Nights which didn't make it before the show was finally cancelled in 2000.


The show, which was staged in Los Angeles, featured the lifeguards mostly saving people from drowning and combating crime like drug smugglers, murders, etc. Any time a body washed up on the beach, the Baywatch gang would spring into action - mostly in slow motion.

"Baywatch" returns, not on television this time, but on the big screen with none other than Dwayne "The Rock Cashcow" Johnson taking over Hasselhoff's role as Mitch, the lead lifeguard. The local was changed to Florida and the most popular lifeguards where brought together including Summer (Alexandra Daddario), CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), Matt Brody (Zach Efron) and Stephanie Holden (Ilfrenesh Hadera); I'm sure there was some sort of scientific rating to measure who was truly more popular.


The story makes fun of the concept of lifeguards solving complex crimes while also pointing out that all the lifeguards are well sculpted - except one. Jon Bass plays dorky Ronnie Greenbaum who was merely a small villain in the last episode. However, his role is the most humorous, though very sophomoric.

The plot has the Baywatch crew battling a local evil businesswoman named Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) who is hell bent on setting up a profitable drug business on the beach. Mitch has plans to foil her plans but runs into resistance with the local policeman Sgt Ellerbee (now played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) a character who appeared as the television show started trending down. He appeared in both Baywatch and Baywatch Nights.


Ellerby isn't a fan of the lifeguards conducting police work, so it becomes a running joke. Captain Thorpe (Rob Huebel) was an occasional character in the television series but looms as the ambitious Captain who decides to hire the incomeptent Olympic medal winner Brody to the team despite Mitch's protests.


And yes, Zach Efron plays the self centered but totally incompetent Brody who won Olympic Gold as an individual swimmer, but tanked during the team relay event by boozing it up before the meet. He and Mitch don't seem eye to eye. But he does see eye to breast with Summer and that too becomes a running joke.


The humor is about as subtle as a firecracker but quite effective. Yes, it is funny. Director Seth Gordon ("Identity Thief", "Horrible Bosses") gets the most out of a script written and tweaked by six different writers. Naturally Johnson is having a good time poking fun at himself and his hugeness. His popularity has profitted even the awful "Hercules" and there is no reason this parody won't earn Paramount a few extra bucks.


It was good to see the producers include Pamela Anderson and Hasslehoff in mentor roles. Hasslehoff also has a cameo in "Guardians of the Galaxy" that also cites his one-time popularity.


"Baywatch" is a much better than expected parody on one of the most popular eye-candy television shows in the world. It is well cast, well directed and entertaining.   -- GEOFF BURTON