BAY­WATCH (R13, 116 MINS), DI­RECTED BY SETH GOR­DON,

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So far this week, I’ve shared a bath­room with a spi­der the size of my hand, de­vel­oped a rag­ing toothache and seen Bay­watch. Given the choice of drop­ping one, I could have done with­out the toothache – but Bay­watch is run­ning a close sec­ond.

Where do we even be­gin with Bay­watch? Do you need me to tell you the film is a re­boot of the much-de­rided 1990s TV show?

The show was dis­tin­guished by the sur­pass­ing daft­ness of its life­guards-as-crime-stop­pers sto­ry­line, for re­launch­ing the ca­reer of David Has­sel­hoff and for the hi­lar­i­ously prag­matic de­ci­sion to have at least one slowmo shot per episode of Pamela An­der­son’s feisty CJ run­ning to­wards cam­era in her togs.

Bay­watch went on to be­come a syn­di­cated sen­sa­tion and one of the most-watched TV shows of all time. Bay­watch was broad­cast in 142 coun­tries and has been watched by an es­ti­mated bil­lion peo­ple. Seen to­day, Bay­watch looks like a cu­ri­ously in­no­cent and fam­ily-for­ward cel­e­bra­tion of per­fectly self-aware trash TV at its ab­so­lute apex.

And maybe there was a good film wait­ing to be spun from Bay­watch. Hell, I’ve seen funny and en­ter­tain­ing films of The Brady Bunch, Get Smart and 21 Jump Street. Give me a few beers and a tail-wind and I’ll even tell you how The A-Team movie is a watch­able cou­ple of hours if you’re in ex­actly the right mood.

All it takes is wit and good hu­mour, a fine sense of what worked about the source ma­te­rial and an un­der­stand­ing of ex­actly how the world has moved on in the years since. None of which you’ll find in the shal­low end of the fetid pool this is fit­fully thrash­ing around in.

Dwayne John­son and Zac Efron take the leads as uberded­i­cated head guard Mitch and brash new re­cruit Brody. John­son and Efron have charisma in spades, with John­son hav­ing res­cued many films by sheer force of will and like­abil­ity. But even the Rock is no match for the cyn­i­cism, lack of am­bi­tion and sheer in­com­pe­tence of this film. It starts promis­ingly enough, with a five-minute open­ing stanza that briefly made me hope for an­other 21 Jump Street- style par­ody.

But, nah. Writ­ers Mark Swift and Damian Shan­non ( Freddy vs Ja­son) haven’t got two solid ideas to rub to­gether, and their story soon re­verts to a lazy far­rago of gross-out set-ups ten­u­ously linked by some tired rub­bish about drug gangs and cor­rup­tion in city hall.

All of which we have seen done bet­ter, many, many times be­fore. By the time An­der­son and Has­sel­hoff turn up for their achingly pre­dictable cameos, what­ever af­fec­tion or hope we might have had for this Bay­watch have long sunk be­neath the waves. – Graeme Tuck­ett

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