Writing MovieWRONGS

By Jim West


Directed by Seth Gordon

Written by Mark Swift, Damian Shannon, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Thomas Lennon, and Robert Ben Garant

Hot beaches and hot bodies should make for a great film, but when this film tries to do comedy it falls flat out and tries desperately to rely on sight gags in the form of penis jokes literally.  With four writer on the story and two screenplay writers this is a complete and utter shame.  Now The Rock is undeniably the worlds biggest (literally and figuratively) action star.  His charisma is on full throttle and he carries this film for the most part.  Yet the writers tried to insert too much and deal with too many characters.  Mitch Buchannon, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, uncovers drugs on his beach and he and his team of lifeguards take it upon themselves to investigate.  Now this is quite a suspension of disbelief, but that also is in line with many events on the TV series run that is one of the most beloved and watched shows in TV history.  So I won’t knock the kookiness of the plot.  I will however address a fundamental flaw in their story.  Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Here comes the spoilers.

The film opens with a wonderful introduction for Mitch Buchannon and lets us know right up front this is The Rock’s movie.  No issues so far.  Then we quickly get introduced to the rest of the team, some inserted penis sight gags, and viola we are not only seeing one new trainee, but THREE!  That is where the film went wrong.  The writer’s seemed to feel compelled to match up evenly our characters with their boy/girl counterparts for this film.  The Rock has his right hand woman in actress Ilfenesh Hadera, Jon Bass (Ronnie) has Kelly Rohrback (CJ Parker), and Zac Efron (Matt Brody) has Alexandra Daddario (Summer Quinn).  Too perfect and this spreads out the screen time quite considerably.  This film seemed to have more cast in it than Game of Thrones.  This is perhaps the fault of having essentially six writer’s screw this up.  How to quickly fix this film then?  I hate to say it, but cut the role of Summer Quinn.  She is largely a forgettable character other than to serve as a romantic foil for Zac Efron’s Matt Brody.  Instead and to work the screen for more laughs would be to pit Zac against Jon Bass’s Ronnie in vying for the affections and attention of CJ Parker.  The pretty boy versus the geek.  That would have lent to some hilarious scenes by creating a love triangle which CJ herself could care less about.  It would have made the tryouts better and every scene between CJ and Ronnie better.  Imagine Zac Efron in that shower scene with Ronnie.  Imagine them at the party trying to out dance each other as a distraction.  In the end CJ could still end up with Ronnie and Matt Brody can still get admired by the other girls on the beach and actually be better for his character. 

By dropping this extra role you actually have an unbalanced team and unbalances is what can lead to some good comedy and more time for the other characters to chew the screen a bit before The Rock takes it back.  Plot wise it is on par with any of the TV series plots and honestly I do not expect much in plot here.  Yet for laughs there is much more here to mine from than simply sight gags and penis jokes.  Especially from six writer’s on this film.  The outtakes were funnier than the entire film.  Too many cooks spoil the soup and in this film’s case, too many writer’s wrote too many characters in a comedy with no real benefit for laughs.

Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.   

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