MOVIES & BOOZE: Heading to the cinema this weekend?

Movie critic Esther McCarthy reviews Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean...

Baywatch (15A) ***

THERE”S A moderate amount of fun - and a surprisingly effective undercurrent of drama - to be had in Baywatch, director Seth Gordon’s (Horrible Bosses) new take on the classic TV series.

To their credit, all involved have attempted to weave a proper story into the latest summer popcorn blockbuster, but at times it’s surprisingly muted.

Head of the Baywatch team, Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) initially locks horns with Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a gifted, double-Olympic swimming champion who has emphatically fallen from grace and is in town to serve out a probation order.

But they’re forced to team up when they suspect that a glamorous but nasty criminal mastermind (Priyanka Chopra) is not only planning to buy out the entire bay, but to flood the region with drugs, using her nightclub as a legitimate front.

Baywatch’s main difficulty is that is doesn’t really know what it wants to be - crime thriller? Adult comedy? Nostalgia fest? It aims for all of the above, and while it’s initially good fun, it falls apart in the second hour despite the reliably good efforts of Efron and Johnson.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (12A) ***

JOHNNY DEPP’S Captain Jack Sparrow joins some new cast members in this lacklustre addition to the Pirates series that will nevertheless entertain its family fanbase.

It’s a bloated and convoluted affair, but delivers enough action and swashbuckling pirate silliness to keep the kids entertained. If the appeal of the series has always baffled you, it’s safe to say this won’t make you a convert.

Johnny Depp returns to his old schtick as Captain John Sparrow, the roguish, mischievous, tipsy pirate who has recently fallen upon hard times.

Ostracised by both his peers and the establishment for his bad behaviour, he faces an even greater test when a lethal band of ghost sailors, led by the sinister Captain Salazar (a CGI-heavy Javier Bardem) escape from the Devil’s Triangle hell-bent on murder and mayhem.

Salazar’s Revenge frequently feels like an attempt to refloat The Pirates series and while it doesn’t succeed in doing enough to win over this non-believer, the series’ die-hard fans will think otherwise.