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Slow-Motion Run, Don’t Walk, to the First ‘Baywatch’ Trailer

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It has become increasingly apparent that the best thing a revival of a tired ‘80s pop-culture artifact can be is the neo-21 Jump Street, judging by the new trailer for the Dwayne Johnson-fronted Baywatch. The parallels are striking: we’ve got the central odd couple in the Rock’s bombastic beach hero and Zac Efron’s hard-partying young gun, light meta touches about “reviving the brand,” some playful winks to the core goofiness of the source material (the “why does she always look like she’s running in slow motion?” line may be the best of the clip), even a scene where our heroes are dressed down by a furious black cop. You may call it derivative, but I call it a good start.

The first look at one of Paramount’s big bets for 2017 shows Johnson back in San Andreas crisis mode, leaping into burning waters to rescue a grateful European model as head lifeguard Mitch Buchannon, the role originated by David Hasselhoff. His foil in shoreline protection is Matt Brody, an Olympian gold medallist hired for the force in order to bring a bump in PR to the Baywatch program. Backed by Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, and Kelly Rohrbach, they attempt to dismantle a crime ring centered on the beach without police assistance. The police aren’t pleased, but this isn’t about playing by the rules, it’s about getting justice, dammit.

Seth Gordon’s film looks like a perfectly good opportunity to ogle some swimsuit-clad celebrities in peak physical condition, and what more does a Baywatch remake need to be, really? Even the film itself seems to have a sense of humor about this, with Efron’s character immediately gluing his eyes to Daddario’s chest upon first meeting her. Because this is an American studio film, she’s a good sport about it and laughs it off after playfully teasing him, but both Efron and the audience know what is up.

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