“I don’t mind being called a dumb blonde,” Dolly Parton likes to say, “because I’m not dumb – and I’m not a blonde.”
Pamela Anderson has parlayed a similar trajectory in her career, playing into the sexist stereotypes that proliferate around her. One joke goes: “The longest anything stayed in Pam’s head was a week – and that was just a cold.”
No doubt she’s aware such gags have fed into her earning power, which would explain why she tends to go along with them, as she did on a recent Ray D’Arcy Show, after which he was hauled over the coals by viewers about the way he disparaged her. (Liberace used to say, “Every time they lambast me I cry my way to the bank.”)
Most people realise that the hugely successful Baywatch series was really just an excuse for a bevy of bathing belles – chiefly Anderson - to parade their wares on golden sands under the auspices of a daft storyline. (It should really have been called Pamwatch.)
Such people won’t be surprised to see more of the same here in a film that’s vulgar both visually and verbally. On such counts it’s decidedly unsuitable for younger viewers – as its certificate indicates.
Anderson’s career has passed its peak by now of course so other chocolate box beauties have stepped in to take her place in the voyeuristic display of red bikinis and nudge-wink pseudo-humour.
It has eight producers, this in itself an indication of the lack of continuity it might otherwise have possessed. The action sequences attempt (unsuccessfully) to make up for the absence of any cogent plot or credible characterisation.
Dwayne Johnson plays Mitch Buchannon, a lifeguard who clashes with former Olympian athlete Matt Brody (Zac Efron) but when a dead body is found on the beach and a drug trafficking link is established they join forces to break it down. Indian actress Priyanka Chopra stars as Victoria Leeds, a businesswoman who uses her real estate operation as a front for the drug trade.
Apart from Chopra, the main female interests (or should I say disinterests) are Alexandro Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach. Jon Bass plays a disco dancer who falls for Rohrbach.
There are lots of maritime thrills and spills but this is really one where you’d be advised to put your brain in neutral and reminisce on the days when the TV series on which it’s based – and which it exploits unapologetically – actually had something going for it as a family show and wasn’t just an excuse for an exposition of the lowest common denominator of bad taste.
The film’s deification of the surfboard culture epitomises what one might dub the Kardashianisation of America.
As well as the offensive prurience, it evidences another immutable law of the world of film-making today – i.e. if Dwayne Johnson is in it, its collective IQ is probably going to be significantly below room temperature.