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'Baywatch' gets a red band trailer and plenty of gay panic jokes

Also Zac Efron's abs.
Baywatch
Zac Efron gets ogled more than the ladies in the trailer for "Baywatch." Credit: Paramount Pictures

We applaud the “21 Jump Street” model of turning old television into movies. (Even though we really should be citing 1995’s “The Brady Bunch” for doing something similar and actually even more inspired first.) Just as a gritty, sincere movie about young undercover cops with lots of hair gel might not fly in the too-cool-for-school 2010s, so it goes with “Baywatch,” a long-running program from the Clinton era that might have been more accurately called “Male Gaze: The Show.”

And so this summer’s “Baywatch” movie takes the “21 Jump Street” route, turning a serious drama (if that’s what you call it) into a raunchy comedy. The new red band trailer doesn’t even dwell much on the ladies and their red low scoop one-pieces. Instead it spends most of its time ogling male stars Zac Efron (who, remember, is secretly a good actor) and Dwayne Johnson. And why not? Efron has objectively first-rate abs.

But maybe this “Baywatch” won’t be so woke after all. With all the time spent on scantily clad dudes comes plenty of a comedic trope we’re surprised is still with us in 2017: gay panic jokes. It starts right away, with Efron dreaming that he’s kissing female lead Alexandra Daddario and realizing that it’s actually The Rock. There’s some banter about balls and a set piece revolving around Efron unhappily lifting up a corpse’s weenus.

Still, maybe these are just out-of-context. This spring’s little-seen or -liked “CHiPs” movie had a trailer packed with GPJs, but in the film itself these yuks actually attempted to lean in a more enlightened direction, with one character freaking out over some homoerotic mix-up followed by the other character accusing him of being homophobic. (It’s a bit funnier and also less preachy than we’re making it sound.)

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Or maybe the people who cut trailers just assume it’s still 1992 and audiences still think nothing’s funnier than the guy from “The Lucky One” touching a peen? As usual, none of us will know until the film arrives, May 25.

Watch the red band trailer below:

 
 
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