No lifeguard squad has room for two ridiculously chiseled hot dudes — at least not without some tanning oil spilled. So it is in the Baywatch reboot, which finds Dwayne Johnson’s Hasselhoffian reincarnation at odds with Zac Efron’s surly new recruit in a battle of the biceps.
In the movie, which hits theaters May 25, Johnson’s Mitch is father figure to the squad of elite lifeguards patrolling a Miami beach. A man of gentle strength, he’s capable of putting King Kong in a headlock but would never use his hulking brawn for anything less pure than rescuing a struggling swimmer. When a child asks him if he’s Batman, he nods and says, “just bigger and browner.”
Efron’s Matt Brody, meanwhile, is an Olympic swimmer in the mold of Ryan Lochte, trying out for the job after thwarting his relay team’s chances for gold by vomiting mid-stroke after a night of partying. An update on the character played by David Charvet in the show, he’s got ego for days: when asked how he would describe himself, he responds, “80 percent trill, 20 percent dope.”
Mitch, naturally, has no time for Brody’s “there might not be an I in team, but there’s definitely a me” attitude. The fruit of their rivalry, thanks to screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, is a litany of insults directed from the Rock to the Neighbors star, as Mitch refuses to dignify Brody with his real name for almost the entire movie. Here are all the names he calls him instead:
One Direction: Mitch asks Brody, who is all swagger out of the gates, “Where you from, One Direction?” That’s impossible, of course — 1D is no longer. It turns out he’s from Iowa, though he’s clearly replaced all the corn in his diet with protein shakes.
‘N Sync: The boy band references continue with Mitch’s allusion to the frosted-tipped Floridians. Brody doesn’t show it, but Mitch’s disrespect is clearly tearin’ up his heart.
New Kids on the Block: At this point, Mitch’s disrespect for the pop canon is getting out of hand. If having three multi-platinum albums is considered an insult, what’s a compliment?
High School Musical: This one’s on the nose. Efron starred in the 2006 Disney TV movie, opposite then-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens, when he was 19.
Jonas Brother: And we’re back to the boy bands.
Troubled Youth: Considering that Brody has become an international laughingstock, this may be the most accurate of Mitch’s invectives.
Malibu Ken: Dye his hair blonde and change the location, and Brody could certainly model for the doll’s next iteration, Miami Matt.
Vomit Comet: Unlike most of them, this put-down is not a pop-culture reference but a callback to the events that brought Brody to the beach in the first place.
Bieber: A talented young man with a high opinion of himself embarrasses himself in front of the entire world and returns cockier than ever? Mitch’s final insult is nothing if not apt, but by this point Brody’s finally beginning to understand what it might take to earn respect in the eyes of Father Mitch.