Could the new "Baywatch" movie do for lifeguard agencies what "Top Gun" did for Naval recruiting officers?
Yes, the Tom Cruise classic did wonders for the U.S. Navy’s pool of applicants. According to reports, officers saw a considerable spike in interest among wannabe fighter pilots upon the movie’s 1986 release. Recruiters even set up booths outside of multiplexes to answer questions and hand out literature. Some 90 percent of applicants acknowledged that they had seen the film.
"Baywatch," starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron, and based on the campy television series, holds similar potential to boost recruitment efforts, but Josh Duffy isn’t holding his breath.
“[S]ince the 2017 "Baywatch" movie is a spin-off of the "Baywatch" TV show and has a significantly dramatized reality of what being a lifeguard is truly like, it’s not likely that results can be as promising,” said Duffy, co-founder and CEO of DigiQuatics, a pool operation app for aquatics managers.
There’s also this to consider: Top Gun was earnest in its portrayal of heroic fighter jocks. The same can be said of "Baywatch," the TV show that ran for 9 seasons -- 11 if you count Baywatch Hawaii. Sure it was corny, but it was a love letter to a Southern California beach patrol that kept vacationers safe from riptides and crime. It was at one point the most-watched television show in the world, and its slow-motion rescuers, in the form of David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, no doubt helped frame lifeguarding as an attractive career choice.
"Baywatch," the movie, on the other hand, is a rowdy, R-rated comedy. Just how lifeguards come off remains to be seen. If they’re reckless buffoons, then Baywatch will be to lifeguards what "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" was to security guards – which is to say, not very flattering.
"Baywatch" comes out May 26 … for better or worse.
Here’s the trailer: