There are a lot of things to be said about the new “Baywatch” movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron. Yes, it’s absurd. Yes, there are cringeworthy moments. No, it’s not as bad as “CHiPs.”
As The New York Times put it in their review of the movie, out May 25: “Like its source material, ‘Baywatch’ is sleazy and wholesome, silly and earnest, dumb as a box of sand and slyly self-aware. It’s soft-serve ice cream. Crinkle-cut fries. A hot car and a skin rash. Tacky and phony and nasty and also kind of fun.”
This ability to be self-aware is what sort of saves the movie from falling into the trap of the stereotypical, sexist comedies we see as of late. Jokes that worked 10 or even five years ago no longer have the same effect. Women don’t want to be in nude scenes while their male counterparts get away scot-free.
The creators behind “Baywatch” know that ― so they tried their best to add in some role reversal.
“I think it was very important for all of us ― the cast and obviously the producers and director [Seth Gordon] ― to create female characters that weren’t just dumb and funny because they were dumb,” star Alexandra Daddario, who plays Summer in the film, told HuffPost during a Build Series interview on Wednesday. “The point was that Baywatch takes itself very seriously ― we’re all like CIA operatives but on the beach ― and all the women are very tough and strong and I think that made a lot of sense in the context of this film, and I think it actually makes it funnier. It’s a little cliché to just have the women there as eye candy ― part of the joke is that we’re all supernaturally hot, but that’s not just what it is.”
Jon Bass, who plays the “chubby” techie trainee Ronnie, echoed those sentiments, proving the point by saying he’s the only person who’s naked in the movie.
“We do a really good job of sort of flipping the script and making sure that, yeah, the guys get their due. Because it’s 2017,” Bass told HuffPost.
“The essence of ‘Baywatch’ in and of itself is, you know, is sexy. It’s sexy, it’s beachy and it’s fun ― and we’re not throwing that out, we’re saying, ‘Look, that is a part of this movie, but we also know how absolutely hilarious and ridiculous that is.’”
Ridiculous is the right word to describe one scene in particular that kicks off the film. Ronnie, clearly smitten with lifeguard C.J. (Kelly Rohrbach), accidentally gets himself caught in a tricky situation after an incident on the beach.
“He gets his erect penis stuck in a beach chair,” Daddario revealed, laughing while explaining that the scene is one of the reasons she signed on for the project. “I felt that it was pushing the envelope and was just laugh-out-loud funny and ridiculous and I think that was the right tone for a film like this.”
As for Bass, he’s privileged to join the likes of Ben Stiller and Jason Biggs on the list of actors who “get their dicks stuck in things.” (Yup, he went there.) But in all seriousness, he’s happy to be a part of a movie that pushes the boundaries without being self-serious.
“I remember reading the script and just being like, ‘This is going to be just such a fun movie to be a part of,’” Bass said. “We had so much fun on set; we had so much fun every scene that I got to shoot with every one of the cast members. It was like a fun day at the beach. It was like summer camp.”