Pain and Gain

Pain and Gain


Rating:  3 (out of 5).  Pain and Gain.  Based on a true story that happened in the 1990s, a trio of personal trainers (Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, Dwayne Johnson) in Miami get caught up in a criminal scheme that goes horribly wrong.  This Micahel Bay directed film is hailed by some critics as being very funny (in a wrong kind of way), it is, neverthless, also quite violent and some of the critics fault the diretor for form over substance.  The reviews are below.

This film is also available on Amazon.

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry
Rating: R
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller, Comedy, Crime





New York Times notes, “To describe “Pain & Gain” as a MichaelBay movie on steroids would be accurate but also redundant and a little misleading.”

Variety says, “With a very fine ensemble cast recruited to play an array of overtly despicable characters, this unapologetically vulgar, sometimes quite funny, often stomach-churning bacchanal will surely prove too extreme for great swathes of the multiplex crowd.”

New York Post says, “This movie is a knucklehead  “Great Gatsby.” I laughed my glutes off.”

The Village Voice headlines, “Michael Bay Artificially Inflates the Already Insane Yet True Events of Pain & Gain.”

Chicago Tribune observes, “Everything is supersaturated in flaming pastels or hot, rich neon. The images are packed with glistening muscle and bright, shiny, superslow-motion struts toward the camera, with something in flames as a backdrop. It’s Bay World. And after an hour of “Pain & Gain,” it felt more like “Pain & Pain.””

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, “As a deconstruction of the American dream, “Pain & Gain” won’t win any points for finesse, but the satire packs plenty of muscle.”

Miami Herald notes, “This is easily Bay’s best movie, the work of a filmmaker with a cracked sense of humor that he is able to share with the audience.”

Chicago Sun-Times concludes, “Even though “Pain & Gain” does indeed mine laughs from some very violent acts, there is nothing in this movie that glamorizes those three meatheads. Kudos to Bay and his screenwriters for making sure we’re laughing at them, not with them.”

Entertainment Weekly gives the show a B grade, and further writes, “For the first half of the film, which has a fizzy, kicky, caffeinated energy, this works beautifully. But as with the steroids and blow that fuel the film, the high eventually subsides and it goes on for at least a half hour too long. Pain & Gain proves once and for all that MichaelBay can set up a punchline. Now all he needs is an editor.”

New York Magazine thinks, “Pain & Gain gives you a rush while at the same time making you queasy about how you’re getting off. Partly you’re supposed to be queasy because of the idiotic amorality of the characters — that’s what passes for dramatic complexity. Partly you’re queasy because Bay and company are active participants if not co-conspirators.”

Time says, “Love it or loathe it, the movie’s not boring. It’s like a giant sculpture that is so strange and off-putting, it’s instantly, intriguingly post-modern. Swept up in the film’s pile-driving self-assurance, even Bay-haters may absorb the pain to enjoy the gain.”

New York Daily News gives the movie 3 out of 5 stars, and further says, ““Pain & Gain” is arguably too much of everything — everyone jabbers on incessantly, and the movie is in love with its own outrageousness — but its biggest lift comes from the pumped-up Wahlberg and Johnson. They manage to find the humanity in all the adrenalized muscle.”

USA Today says, “Bay’s Pain & Gain (** out of four; rated R; opens Friday nationwide) is a badly constructed, blood-spattered caper that comes unglued early on.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer observes, “The plot is based on a true story (as the film reminds us often) but Pain & Gain clearly takes more liberties than the Seventh Fleet.”

NPR writes, “A modest little comedy by Bay’s standards — and an unwieldy behemoth by any other’s — Pain & Gain gets some early comic mileage out of the get-rich-quick aspirations of a musclehead who believes he’s entitled to a big, steroidal hunk of the American dream.”

Los Angeles Times concludes, “WhenMichaelBay goes small, “Pain & Gain” happens.”

Arizona Central thinks, “It gets to feel like the sort of movie a teen boy would make if you gave him tens of millions of dollars, a boxful of Playboy magazines and a couple of cases of Red Bull, complete with naked chicks, dirty jokes, rape jokes, ninja costumes and slapstick and bathroom humor, all seasoned with a soupcon of homophobia and misogyny.”

According to Austin Chronicle, “The film is all Miami bright and plastic – beautiful people in a beautiful setting in an ultimately ugly city. Boasting limited ambitions, there is something raw and funny about this tale of the spectacularly inept. Yes, the canon invoked for this film is that of the Three Stooges, but it’s still not as magnificently berserk as they can be. Set your expectations carefully for this one.”

The Times-Picayune writes, “Yes, “Pain & Gain” is based on a real story — and, yes, it is a bizarre one. But here’s a true story for you: This is a tragedy, not a comedy.”

According to Tampa Bay Times, “Pain & Gain is a movie living up to only half its title.”

Indiewire notes, “If there’s a bright spot in the movie, it’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who transforms from ex-con to god-fearing Jesus freak, to maniacal cocaine-hoovering freakshow.”

The Washington Post relates, “Almost no one in “Pain and Gain” is even remotely sympathetic, with the possible exception of the private detective (Ed Harris) whose investigation helped bring Lugo and his cronies to justice. The absence of a likable hero makes it really hard to laugh.”

The Oregonian gives the show a D rating, and further writes, “Bay seems to have been gunning for something along the lines of “Blood Simple” or “A Simple Plan,” but “Pain & Gain” is just plain simple.”

A.V. Club thinks, “Pain & Gain is less a satire of stupidity than a loud, brash, unapologetically vulgar celebration of aggression divorced from intellect.”

Boston Globe says, ““Pain & Gain,” a jokey but fatally tone-deaf true-crime caper, plays like “Fargo” for idiots.”

TimeOut New York writes, “By the time a private investigator played by Ed Harris bemoans people’s lack of focus on life’s “little things,” you want to hide your face in embarrassment at Pain & Gain’s blatant disingenuousness. It takes balls to be this haughtily hypocritical. Someone could use a good swift kick.”

The Hollywood Reporter concludes, “As usual with Bay, the visual and aural style is as over-hydrauliced as the events of display, resulting in an inevitable feeling of overkill.”

RollingStone describes the movie: “It’s dumb, shallow, deeply cynical and and creatively bereft.”

The Wall Street Journal notes, “… “Pain & Gain” turns out to be not only hollow and assaultive, but frenzied, madly violent and skullnumbingly loud. So much for transformation.”

Salon writes, “With his pumped-up and violent crime farce “Pain & Gain” – a thoroughly reprehensible and frequently hilarious satire that depicts American life as a circus of stupidity, artificiality and self-regard — Michael Bay sends a clear message to those of us who’ve been making fun of him: He’s been in on the joke the whole time.”

Reelreviews thinks, “Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Pain & Gain is that it illustrates how Bay, given a budget that’s less than obscene and a passion for the project, has the talent and capacity to make something a thinking adult might enjoy.”

Slant Magazine gives it 2.5 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “Pain & Gain convincingly slams its protagonists for their own delusions and idiocy, aided by starring turns that are uniformly spot-on: Wahlberg’s dim-bulb wannabe-mastermind vanity, Johnson’s confused-giant empty-headedness, Mackie’s pitiful little-man-complex striving. Narcissism, entitlement, and intolerance form the three-headed beast at the heart of Bay’s film.”

Movie Nation writes, “It’s just too much — too much graphic violence, too many plot wrinkles, too much stupidity, too many supporting players to track (Did I mention Rob Corddry is the gym boss?).   For a movie as physically fit as this one wants to be, “Pain & Gain” is carrying way too much extra weight.”

Total Film’s verdict: “Like all of Bay’s work, it’s over-the-top, brash and exhausting to watch. But like the lifestyle its characters aspire to, there’s an allure too.”

Slate thinks, “Pain & Gain provides the amount and type of action you would expect from the creator of Bad Boys, Armageddon, and the Transformers franchise—fistfights, chases, explosions—plus a little more (and better) comedy than Bay usually serves up.”


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