Even David Hasselhoff, in his 2007 memoir Don’t Hassel the Hoff, called the original Baywatch sexist.
It’s no surprise that remaking the 90s series – no matter how ironic or cerebral the twist – was always going to cater to people’s leery instincts. And the perpetually offended of Twitter have – unsurprisingly – kicked off:
the new baywatch movie looks awful. are we seriously not over oversexualising women and fronting unrealsistic body standards?
— mari ⚡️❄️ (@darlinsharman) December 8, 2016
“I’m not sure how it was possible to produce a trailer for an “ironic” Baywatch movie that actually looks more sexist than the original show”, said one. Woah, steady on there…
The trailer for the Baywatch movie looks cheesy juvenile and sexist… its definitely gonna be the hit of Summer 2017
— Marlon Thompson (@MarlonT) December 8, 2016
Stop everything. There's a Baywatch film coming out. On first look, it appears to be a feminist masterpiece: https://t.co/PkyB4lOu10
— Hollie Newton (@HollieNuisance) December 9, 2016
The 2017 film, which will star Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as rival lifeguards who get drawn into uncovering a criminal plot, seems to have been restyled as a bozo buddy comedy, aware of its frivolity and Carry On-level titillation.
And with a new Game of Thrones season months away, Paramount has run an R-rated trailer to sweep up the millions of viewers in need of something full of casual (or at least partial) nudity that they can slyly watch while pretending to be interested in the story.
In the trailer, released last week, we see Kelly Rohrbach as Pamela Anderson’s character C.J. Parker and Johnson – People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive 2016 – who play’s Hasselhoff’s character running out of the sea in the traditional way.
Efron, who plays the oiled, “reckless” new kid on the block, is told off for looking at Alexandra Daddario’s boobs while talking to her.
It’s hard to imagine how anybody could have expected anything else.
Once a teen heartthrob, Efron moved into the sort of knowing bro comedies usually peopled by the likes of Jonah Hill, James Franco and Seth Rogen, such as This Is The End, The Interview and the Jump Street movies.
Baywatch looks set to be of a similar ilk. But social media might have been too busy ogling and tutting to be fooled.
yeah, turns out baywatch's casual misogyny and objectification of women still isn't funny when it's ironic. who knew, huh?
— ❄️⛄️screamlord⛄️❄️ (@AliceWCastle) December 8, 2016
I love me some Priyanka and The Rock, but that Baywatch movie looks like sexist trash.
— Preeti Chhibber (@runwithskizzers) December 8, 2016
Wooooooow it's 2016 and they literally have BAYWATCH hella hyper sexualizing men and women….. I'm tired of seeing this crap
— SC: alez_navidad (@alez_navidad) December 12, 2016
The film seems to have been written and marketed to somewhat balance the ratio of male and female beach bodies.
There could be an argument to be made that lead roles for Efron and Johnson exclude women from the leading roles in a woman-heavy film – but no-one seems to have tried to make it.
Perhaps they are pacified, on some fronts, by the “equal opportunities objectification”, as one Twitter user put it.
The baywatch cast looks so good! The male to female ratio is something out of a feminist's fantasy. As well as the number of POC
— Angela (@Normomi_Kordei) December 9, 2016
The Baywatch film is literally just gonna be jerk off material for both men and women.
— PlasmaSnake (@Plasma9Snake) December 7, 2016
And then, along with feminist tutting there has also been meninist tutting due to the film and its media coverage aiming to titillate women as well as men:
If you objectify women, you are a misogynist. NEW BAYWATCH MOVIE STARRING DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON'S AND ZAC EFRON'S ABS
— John O'Heron (@HasNoLife11) December 9, 2016
— CNN Entertainment (@CNNent) December 12, 2016
This Baywatch movie looks absolutely absurd. Looks like it's going after equal opportunity sexual objectification.
— Joe Cunningham (@JoeCunningham14) March 10, 2016
But because of the usual beautiful democracy of outrage Twitter espouses, you can also expect people to object that there isn’t enough nudity. Equal objectification opportunities for all!
Baywatch movie looks like crap. Just sayin' This looks like a full on comedy. Not what I was expecting.
— Steven Maggiolino (@stevmagg) December 8, 2016
You guys think the new Baywatch movie is gonna feature boobs?
— Steve Zaragoza (@stevezaragoza) December 8, 2016