A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson). Their kidnapping and extortion scheme goes terribly wrong since they have muscles for brains and they're left to haphazardly try to hold onto the elusive American dream. Written by
Watching Pain&Gain today I was thinking that this film could have been handled as a straight drama. But given the absolutely preposterous nature of this true story I think playing it as a black comedy was the only way to go.
The film reminded me a whole lot of Fargo with a bit of Casino and Goodfellas thrown in. Three bodybuilders who become jealous and resentful of the wealthy clients they have at a health club they work at conceive of a plan to rob one they truly think is an obnoxious rich fool. That client Tony Shalhoub is just that is besides the point, these guys are like the hired criminals in Fargo and everything that can go wrong does. This film is exponential Murphy's Law. And Shalhoub proves to be tougher than these he man can imagine.
The three muscle bound Moriartys are Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. Their back stories are provided with their own narration as Scorsese did in his crime classics, but these guys have results like Fargo though not at first. Their own weaknesses in the end defeat them.
Pain&Gain is laced with humor with a dash of pathos in as far as the criminal masterminds are concerned. They've sculpted themselves into the bodies beautiful and such Adonis/Apollo features deserve the best that life can offer. They think some cosmic joke is being played on them that an arrogant little worm like Tony Shalhoub should have so much wealth with all the big boy toys he can possess because of same. So Wahlberg, Mackie, and Johnson resolve to fix things as a matter of justice and entitlement.
I think if you have a quirky and bizarre sense of humor and a jaundiced view of life, you'll go for Pain&Gain.
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