Finally! After that dreadful Transformers franchise, the Michael Bay who brought us those Bad Boys movies is back! PAIN & GAIN is pumped-up and hugely entertaining. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie bring the old saying, in way over your head, to whole new level of hilarious. Their performances are like The Three Stooges with biceps. A crime comedy doesn’t get better than this..
PAIN & GAIN is your textbook Michael Bay, there are beautiful girls, fast cars, that 360-degree spinning shot where the camera circles the actors, plus it’s back in Miami too, the land of all kinds of colors and sunshine! Yup! PAIN & GAIN looks, feels, breaths, and benches like a Michael Bay movie, alright! Minus the giant robots, and that’s a good thing in this case. I have to give props to the true story that became the basis for this movie, just the idea of three knucklehead bodybuilders chasing American dream and the mishaps that happen along the way because of their stupidity, it’s practically a formula for a laugh riot, it practically begged to be made into a movie. Plus it’s scripted by the screen writing team who brought us Captain America: The First Avenger, the humor that banks on the cluelessness of the three leads just keeps on coming and hitting the mark. What a great cast, including the great Tony Shalhoub and the rising star/funnywoman, Rebel Wilson who steals every scene she’s in. That big girl is going to go places.
Mark Wahlberg leads the pack, but this ain’t The Hangover, because all the three lead characters in PAIN & GAIN are idiots, that’s the attraction, they think they have it all figured out, but they never think things through, so when things go haywire, they’re forced to improvise and when they do improvise, people get hurt and even after that, they still mess up in trying to cover their tracks, it’s the idea of stupid people trying to get a shortcut to fortune, some people can’t handle such fortune, they mismanage it and they’re left hungry again. The film probably would make the late great Tony Scott proud too, because it moves like an A-D-D person, one scene moves to the next very quickly, which also speaks about how rash the three leads are in making their moves. Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Anthony Mackie have impressive comedic timing, you should see them panicking or cornered, their performances get even more intense. I hit the gym but I don’t even come close to what Wahlberg, Mackie, and Johnson do regularly, perhaps. Their biceps have biceps, that’s how ridiculously massive they look on the big screen, their belief in fitness is going to make you feel quite insignificant. PAIN & GAIN may have some commentary about American Dream, on whether or not those who do achieve it actually earned it, but in the end, it’s just a laugh out loud cautionary tale told through the style of Michael Bay.