Efron dances around Lochte com­par­i­son

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about an al­leged rob­bery that he said took place af­ter he and his team­mates at­tended a party. The in­ci­dent be­came an in­ter­na­tional news story; mul­ti­ple spon­sors dropped him, and he was sus­pended for 10 months from the US Olympic swim team.

It’s un­for­tu­nate that Efron is back­ing so far away from the Lochte com­par­i­son, be­cause the (un­in­ten­tional) strik­ing par­al­lel be­tween the two is the fun­ni­est part of a de­cid­edly un­funny movie.

In Bay­watch, the crit­i­cally panned re­make of the 1990s TV se­ries, Efron plays swim­mer Matt Brody who, like Lochte, is an Olympic gold medal­ist with an overly con­fi­dent, frat- bro swag­ger. And just as Lochte par­o­died his own “sex-id­iot” rep­u­ta­tion on 30 Rock, Brody is hand­some but he isn’t the bright­est bulb, as he re­peat­edly botches his life­guard du­ties. “Thank God you’re pretty,” an­other char­ac­ter tells him.

They also have sim­i­lar down­falls – Brody par­ties too hard the night be­fore an Olympic re­lay and throws up in the pool, earn­ing him the nick­name “vomit comet”. Then he gets in le­gal trou­ble and ends up on Bay­watch duty as com­mu­nity ser­vice. (That’s one dif­fer­ence from Lochte, who just had to go on Danc­ing With the Stars to mend his rep­u­ta­tion.)

Ini­tially, Brody’s rule-break­ing makes him de­spised by his new col­leagues – es­pe­cially head life­guard Mitch Buchanan, played by Dwayne John­son.

But Brody earns sym­pa­thy when it’s re­vealed that he’s tem­por- ar­ily home­less be­cause he lost all his spon­sors, and soon he re­alises he’s act­ing like a jerk and de­cides to be a team player.

While Efron may not want Lochte linked with his char­ac­ter, di­rec­tor Seth Gordon ad­mits there are clearly sim­i­lar­i­ties.

“The char­ac­ter was writ­ten be­fore the real Lochte got him­self into trou­ble, which ended up be­ing un­ex­pect­edly pre­scient,” Gordon said.

Still, the com­par­isons will live on, even as Efron in­sists he thought of his char­ac­ter as “the early Justin Bieber of swim­ming”, or “a cocky dude that messes up but still has a good heart”.

“Just for the record, this is not based on Ryan Lochte,” Kim­mel said at the end of his in­ter­view with Efron. “It’s a com­plete co­in­ci­dence that your char­ac­ter’s dis­as­trous life matches up with his ac­tual dis­as­trous life.”

“One hun­dred per­cent,” Efron said. – Wash­ing­ton Post


Zac Efron stars as Matt Brody, a dis­graced Olympic swim­mer turned life­guard, in

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