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Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach,Jon Bass, Priyanka Chopra, Rob Huebel, David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson

Director: Seth Gordon

Aware of its own idiocy and full of knowingly referential lines, this big-screen version of the TV tease aims for the lowest common denominator from the first scene and, like a crab clinging to your swimshorts, never lets go.

Self-centred Olympic swimming medallist Matt Brody (Efron, painfully buffed up) has to do community servicer for some unspecified misdemeanour and is assigned to join the bulging biceps and bouncing boobs of the Baywatch lifeguard team bossed by Mitch Buchanan (Johson).

Straight away, they're plunged into underwater rescues and tackling a fire (dodgy CGI) on a yacht that yields a dead body - the victim of a scheming villainess (Chopra) out to take over all the local coastal properties while dabbling in drug-smuggling to boost her ill-gotten coffers.

Mitch duly calls the opinionated Efron stuff like 'Bieber' and 'High School Musical), while the latter's getting drunk and serving his own ends even as the 'guards are trying to corner the bad guys. 'The things you guys are saying,' snarls Efron, 'sounds like a far-fetched but entertaining TV show'.

Their crooked boss (Huebel), however, is determined to thwart them and fires poor Johnson. 'Turn in your trunks, Mitch,' he commands.

Apart from an amusing credit sequence, this is indeed a blown-up version of the TV series, although with way more swearing and sex references than Hasselhoff (who makes a couple of guest appearances) and Co were ever allowed.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 23 May 2017