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Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain

What He said:


Boy did this one suck. I know some people are probably saying, “It’s Michael Bay, what did you expect?”, but I’m not an outright hater of the man. I haven’t see Bad Boys or The Rock in ages, but I remember liking both. I also thought the first Transformers was decent enough too.  But this movie was as obnoxious as they come.

Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) likes fitness. He works out furiously with a goal of absolutely perfection. He applies that mindset to everything else in his life as well. Daniel is a personal trainer and a pretty good one too. He has recently started a job at a new gym and increased its membership by a significant number.  

He’s also a convicted criminal. Lugo has a history of conning people out of their money. It’s becomes quickly established he’s a pretty amoral guy, wants anything and everything he can gets his hands on, and has no remorse or regard for doing what it takes to make that come true. So what happens next shouldn’t be a surprise. Lugo decides that he is going to kidnap and force one of his new clients (Tony Shalhoub) to sign over all his assets to him.

He can’t do this alone, so he recruits fellow trainer Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), and new guy in town Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson).  I never really picked up or not whether Paul was supposed to be a trainer or not. He comes in the gym asking for a job, but I don’t ever see him working there. Adrian is pretty similar to Daniel in the sense that he cares about getting buff, rich, and has little concern about how that happens. Paul is an ex-con who has found religion and trying to stay clean, but also needs to earn a living. Together, the three of them – after some botched attempts – capture Victor Kershaw (Shaloub). They then proceed to torture him until he agrees to sign his assets over to them.

Pain & Gain

This is movie is somewhat based on true events. It’s also billed as a comedy. I like some darker comedies, but some stuff just isn’t funny. The thought of a guy being kidnapped and tortured isn’t something that made me laugh. I thought since it was a dark comedy it could manage to entertain me, but I was wrong. The movie wasn’t funny. It was also extremely obnoxious. The jokes were obnoxious, the actors’ performances were obnoxious, and even the music was obnoxious. The movie was in your face from to-to-bottom. I get that the movie is about a bunch of meatheads whose brains are probably rotten from steroids and the other drugs they were on, so you are not dealing with the most eloquent individuals, but there was nothing about them that was entertaining. The whole experience was just loud and painful to watch. Director Michael Bay has a bizarre sense of humor. It’s not simply that his sense of humor is crude or immature – which it is – it’s the delivery. I’m not a snob, I laugh at some raunchy/inappropriate stuff. Breaking Bad is pretty disturbing at times. It’s also hilarious at others. But there’s just something about the way these character s deliver lines that gets on your nerves. I thought Anthony Mackie was particularly brutal.

The only thing I liked about the movie was Ed Harris’ character. He reminded me of an older version of a character in a book I read a few years back.  I’d love to see a spinoff revolving around his adventures as a private investigator.

Rating: Thumbs down. Way down. This movie was awful.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on September 9, 2013.


What She said:


What do you get when movie director Michael Bay decides to channel his inner Steven Soderbergh?  You get Pain & Gain, the 2013 big budget crime drama starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, and Tony Shalhoub.  It’s big, loud, kind of artsy, and disappointingly unfunny.  The movie sort of feels like Michael Bay decided to go emo, and that’s not a good feeling at all.

Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain has the premise for a fun dramody, three weightlifters team up to try to steal another person’s life, including their money and all their possessions.  Of course, things don’t go exactly as these fellas would have hoped.  And this would ideally be where the hilarity ensues.  I mean, it should be easy—three boneheaded beefcakes striking out as criminals—should be comedic gold.  Instead, it seems that Bay is more preoccupied with just telling a story, void of any of the stuff that makes it interesting of enjoyable.  Granted, this is apparently based on a true story, but it’s ok to use some artistic license to add some comedy to the scenes.  I do sense that Bay had moments in this film that he wanted to be funny.  Problem is, they just weren’t.  I probably laughed about three times during the whole movie, and I was in a particularly good mood when I watched this.  That’s a shame.  Everyone in this movie is a walking cliché, and for a character-driven story, there are shockingly in-human and underdeveloped characters at play here.  Aside from Ed Harris’ character, I feel I had no one to root for because most of these people were just plain unlikable. 

I am not sure who is most at fault here. Did the screenwriters just do a terrible job with the script?  Did Bay take the script and make it his own, carefully molded piece of crap?  Or am I at fault for hoping for more out of this movie? 

I can tell that Wahlberg and Johnson tried to do their best with what they were given, but I found them both to be painful.  Worst of all was Anthony Mackie and his highly annoying character.  I was kind of just hoping he’d be killed off at some point.

I was relieved when this stinkfest finally ended, two hours and nine minutes after it began.  Despite plenty of action, I was bored.  In many ways, I was also somewhat offended.  And hell, just like that Miley Cyrus VMA performance a few weeks back, I just wanted to forget that Pain & Gain ever happened.

Thumbs down.