Earlier tonight, I watched the 1995 film Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise.
Why Was I Watching It?
The H&I network has been airing Baywatch every weekday at 5 and 6. I’ve been watching because the pure, unapologetic silliness of the show is a good way to unwind from whatever stress or annoyance I may have had to deal with during the day. Today, they aired Forbidden Paradise, which was originally released theatrically in Europe and straight-to-video in the United States. (To quote John Redcorn, “We are already straight-to-video. There is nowhere else left to go.”) A few months after its theatrical release, Forbidden Paradise was broadcast as a two-part episode of Baywatch, even though it featured characters who had since left the show. I imagine that was a bit confusing for some viewers.
(Or maybe it wasn’t. I doubt the majority Baywatch’s audience was particularly concerned with continuity.)
What Was It About?
The Baywatch team goes to Hawaii! Well, not all of them. Actually, it’s just Mitch (David Hasselhoff), CJ (Pamela Anderson), Stephanie (Alexandra Paul), Caroline (Yasmine Bleeth), Logan (Jaason Simmons), and Matt (David Charvet). They’re supposed to be taking part in a lifeguard exchange program but, as usual, it turns out that Stephanie is the only one who actually gives a damn about doing her job.
Instead, CJ considered whether or not she wants to model for a dorky photographer. Logan becomes obsessed with winning a surfing competition while Caroline obsesses on why Logan is always obsessing on stuff. Mitch and Matt end up getting lost in the jungle and briefly taken prisoner by a bunch of native villagers. It all leads to a chase through the jungle and an engagement on the beach. Stephanie helps that Hawaiian lifeguards save someone from drowning. At least Stephanie takes her job seriously.
Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise was actually filmed on location in Hawaii so the scenery was gorgeous. It was also apparently shot in approximately the same location as Lost so, whenever I got bored with the plot, I could think about Sawyer and the Others. This was especially true while David Hasselhoff and David Charvet were being chased through the jungle by all of the angry villagers. I felt like the Smoke Monster was going to pop out at any moment.
As with anything involving Baywatch, it could be argued that the whole film was so ludicrous that it worked as a self-parody. I’m certainly tempted to make that argument but I’m not really sure if any of the self-parody was intentional. That’s the great mystery when it comes to Baywatch.
What Did Not Work?
If you consider this movie to be a self-aware parody, than it all worked.
If you consider it to be an actual movie, with a plot and characters that you’re supposed to care about and interesting dialogue, than none of it worked. I mean, it’s Baywatch. It’s the adult version of Saved By The Bell. It’s entertainingly shallow but it’s never exactly good.
Probably the film’s biggest flaw is that the pacing is totally off. It seems to take forever for the film’s plot to actually get started and then, once it does, it keeps going off on these strange detours. For some reason, a lot of screen time is devoted to a model named Holly (Hedi Mark) and a remarkably unlucky photographer named Carlton Edwards (Ricky Dean Logan).
Myself, I was disappointed that David Chokachi (who played Cody, the lifeguard best-known for wearing a speedo in the opening credits) wasn’t even in the film.
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
I’ve been to Hawaii! Seriously, I had a great time and I look forward to returning soon.
I refuse to learn anything from Baywatch.