REVIEW: PAIN & GAIN
SYNOPSIS: From acclaimed director Michael Bay comes "Pain & Gain," a new action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. Based on the unbelievable true story of three personal trainers in 1990s Miami who, in pursuit of the American Dream, get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong. Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson and Bar Paly also star. The film is based on magazine articles by Pete Collins, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and produced by Donald DeLine, Michael Bay and Ian Bryce.
REVIEW: Famed Director Michael Bay (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2009) is at it once again with this semi-comedic drama accurately portraying Miami (in the 90’s) as a steroid-drenched house of mirrors, reflecting back the worst of us in various colorful characters. This includes Mark Wahlberg (Daniel Lugo) playing the kind of good-natured idiot who thinks he’s better than everyone, and is unflappable as he leads this impossible scheme, that only could be the brainchild of a drug-induced set of thought processes. Literally, this flick is all about watching a group of
sociopath dummies screw up terrible plans and further ruining an already tarnished community’s reputation.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Paul Doyle) completes the trio of knuckle-heads and is probably the most convincing of the group, as a total screw-up. I really enjoyed watching him play the muscle-bound dim-wit, that can’t seem to think straight due to excessive use of steroids and other drugs. This is a far throw from his normal role of being the sharp-witted super-hero type character that saves the world and his image at the same time. Equally, it is fascinating to see that this flick casts Tony Shaloub (Monk – TV series) playing the role of Victor Kershaw as one of the biggest pieces of garbage in the film. He's gross from the moment we meet him, bragging about his money, rubbing his life in Daniel's face every chance he gets and setting a tone that almost makes the viewer want to wish him harm. Anthony Mackie’s (The Hurt Locker, 2009) character feeds well off of Wahlberg's energy, and I hope the two end up playing in another comedy together soon. Certainly not to be overlooked is the veteran actor, Ed Harris (Man on the Ledge, 2012). His role is perfect as the retired South Florida detective being relentless and busting the case wide open, even when the active-duty police department seemed to have dropped the ball on the case. Bay really tops the cast off with bringing comedians Rob Corddry and Rebel Wilson in to the fold and really added the off the wall comedic flavor to the film.
If there is a downside to this flick, it would certainly be the cinematography of it all. I was totally taken back by the film’s lack of scenic views, considering how well Bay is known for his love of filming on location in Miami. The film particularly gave, with the exception of a few shots of Biscayne Bay, very little feel of being filmed in Miami and spent a lot of time on sequences that were up-close tight shots that made watching the movie, a bit uncomfortable and claustrophobic.
Nevertheless, there is a certain tone of comedy that made this story work and coupled with a great cast, Pain and Gain is a worthwhile story that somehow feels like the old adage of “Life imitating art” and the reversed as “Art imitating Life.” The story really feels like something right out of a Hollywood script, but the movie quickly reminds viewers that it is heavily based on true events. Overall, this is a story worth telling and deserves four out of five stars for substance, casting and great performances.
By Movi-Man Stan
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Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Christopher Markus
Genre: Action Comedy
Duration: 2hrs 10mins
Staring: Mark Wahlberg
Producer: Michael Bay
for bloody violence, crude sexual
content, nudity, language
Release Date: April 26, 2013
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