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
Michael Bay's "Pain and Gain" is a very bleak, very dark comedy about three knucklehead bodybuilders in pursuit of their own American dream, even if the road there is paved with sex, drugs, torture, humiliation, and even murder.
Bay is shamelessly reputed for huge explosions, choppy editing, excessively flashy/glitzy cinematography, sexy women, fancy cars and (recently) giant robots. With "Pain and Gain" he returns to low-budget territory since his debut "Bad Boys" in 1995. The result - the film is a debauchery in style - it's all over the film. Although Bay cuts back on the explosions and robots (mercifully), everything else has Bay written all over it, and considering how morbidly ridiculous the film's subject matter is, Bay tackles it in such a head-on and energetic manner that the audience is whisked off for the insane ride ahead.
For this movie, he has assembled together Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie as the three bumble-heads who have their hearts set in the right goal but clearly lack the intellect to do so. All three men look jacked up, and play their parts as ridiculous as the part goes for it, especially Johnson, who clearly is having a blast showing off a completely different side of him as opposed to what we've been seeing him of late. Wahlberg plays a character so dangerously goofy and dumb one will wonder whether such a person exists in real life. Tony Shalhoub's unfortunate but still jerk-ish character sets the tone for most of the movie as his predicament grows from one spectrum of ridiculousness to another. By the time we've reached sexy Bar Paly's and hilarious Rebel Wilson's love interest characters, the audience have probably seen enough.
Then in comes Ed Harris as Detective Du Bois. Just when I thought the film was about to careen off the rails into insanity. He's the only sane person in the whole movie, and his presence helps bring balance and clarity to what was a ludicrous first half.
Comic relief is key in Bay's action films, but here he's going all out at comedy, and he sure does pull of the stops. The film is simply put, hysterical. The fact that it was indeed a true story makes it all the more hilarious to watch, who honestly can think of some story like this and pull if off straight?
I am aware that since this is a film, some liberties had to be made to the story and characters. Some scenes were undoubtedly exaggerated, but which one? Every scene looked and felt so surreal, every major character ridiculous, every line of dialogue inducing a chortle from the audience. But it was a dementedly fun ride, and Bay, after making two bloated sequels about giant robots, finally returns to his stride.
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