Pain And Gain
“Pain And Gain” is an aggressive, unrepentantly block-headed black hole of a movie that sucks all intelligence and talent into its vortex leaving only a vacuum of stupidity behind. I felt like I was a little dumber just for having spent two hours in its presence.
This is based on a bizarre true story, but in the hands of director Michael Bay a world invaded by warring races of talking robots seems more plausible.
Mark Wahlberg plays Daniel Lugo, a personal trainer in mid-90′s Miami. He’s eager to get his own piece of the pie in the go-go 90′s. So he joins with two other trainers (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Anthony Mackie) and they hatch a plan to kidnap one of his own clients and force him to sign away all his property.
Wahlberg, The Rock, and Mackie are believably buff, but the film asks them to do little more than show off their muscles and act tremendously idiotic while turning up the volume on their performances to 11 at nearly all times.
Mackie is the ‘roided up little guy whose manhood has shrunk while his muscles have grown, The Rock is an ex-con whose road to redemption hits a speed bump called cocaine, and Wahlberg is the mastermind who actually has no idea what he’s doing. They all have a handful of character traits but no one gets a fully defined character.
There’s an interesting story to be told here for sure. But director Michael Bay is the wrong one to tell it. There are plenty of fast cars, hot women, and men with muscles big enough to qualify for the WWE.
And Bay does allow his camera to linger for whole seconds at a time, but he never finds a way to tie it all together. It’s like an unholy marriage of a lobotomized news magazine segment, and an LA Fitness infomercial, all doused in labored humor that wouldn’t pass muster at Second City on a Tuesday.
There’s a reason you don’t hire Michael Bay to do documentaries, or small dark action comedies like this one. This movie is all pain and no gain.