Pain & Gain FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Paramount Pictures, De Line Pictures and Platinum Dunes present an R rated, 130 minute, action, comedy, crime film, based on a true story in the mid-nineties, directed by Michael Bay, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely with a theater release date of April 26, 2013.
Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a senior fitness manager at Sun Gym, working for John Mese (Rob Corddry) a Notary Public and owner of a failing business. Since joining the staff, even with a past criminal record, Daniel has tripled the membership by bringing in the young and getting rid of the old, amongst other ideas, some conventional yet some not so much! He meets Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a pompous ass business man, owner of Schlotzsky’s Deli’s and a very rich man with money in the states and some hidden in the Bahamas. A not too unfamiliar scenario in the world of wealth and fight for power, as for Daniel all he wants is a shot at his “American Dream” and conjures up with the help of Jonny Wu’s (Ken Jeong) life changer program a method in which to get out of those sweat pants on a daily basis and into a mansion. Sadly enough as Victor confides in Daniel during their workouts Daniel is taking notes and planning a kidnapping and extortion scheme.
One issue for Daniel is that even though he knows he can be the ring leader he still needs help in order to pull this extortion off. He soon enlists the assistance of his friend and workout buddy Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) at the gym. Let’s just say not exactly the brightest bulb on the tree during the holidays and as a black man with a penis problem the man has low self-esteem but after visiting a local Miami penis clinic he soon meets his wife to be Ramona Eldridge (Rebel Wilson).
Two people is still not enough of a team to get the job done so Daniel and Adrian approach Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) straight out of the Attica Correctional Facility as their third and final member. Well actually they do for some odd reason which doesn’t make a lot of sense bring in Sorina Luminita (Bar Paly), a local stripper who aspires to be a star. As for the job they plan to kidnap Victor and extort all of his wealth to them but along the way so many things go wrong from the hung to dry method of torture to the sex toy beatings right up to his potential murder that doesn’t even come close. This team under the guidance of Paul, who has found God and religion needs much more than a one way path to Jesus, they need brains, something according to this film body builders do not have an ounce of in their head. Oh look out for some bitter comments to come from the gym members around the globe. I mean even though this film has some funny moments even amidst poking fun at some very gruesome murders, I don’t think the body builder of America will appreciate the light in which this story sheds on their intelligence. I work out several times a week and the trainers and physical fit people for the most part seem pretty intelligent to me maybe a bit unsocial to some but at least they know the meaning of stupidity.
Anyway due to drugs, spending sprees and women plan number one doesn’t go quite as planned so the guys decide a plan two, going after the third richest man in Dade County, Frank Grin (Michael Rispoli). Let’s just say Frank’s dog definitely can smell a bad guy more than he can of course which eventually leads to yet another error and a trip to Home Depot. At least Adrian helps take a greyhound out of the races and into a home but once Ruben (the dog) saw what family life was like at the Doorbal residence he decided time to go back to the races. The writers almost had at least this moment right but lost their thought in the end. Almost like a spin off from the guys in the “Hangover” films these guys find nothing but trouble and the writers take no offense in insulting every possible society of people in America all with the intent of finding the “American Dream”. Victor upon his escape from death, like a cat with nine lives, has hired a private investigator to help him, Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) at least the story decided to make this ex-cop out to serve justice look good in the story. Albeit in the end of a tragic road to stupidity, murder, extortion, and much more the case goes to court laying down the hammer to some big hot guys that will have all the time in what’s left of their lives to work out. Have you ever seen a prison gym? Not that I want too but I hear they’re pretty nice!
I actually enjoyed the film for the most part but the story really doesn’t hold back from offending several core groups in America, homosexuals, body builders, trainers, heavy people, religions and the list goes on. So if you can take a bad joke although done very well by the actors involved than you’ll probably enjoy this film from beginning to end which also contains a great arrangement of music and a shot at the original Marky Mark, if you know what I mean.
The cast all do a tremendous job with their roles even though the story line is a bit over-board. Wahlberg definitely takes the heaviest dumbbell as the major lead proving that he really can take on any role and make it look good. Mackie plays stupid well from jokes about his penis to drinking breast milk as a body building enhancer this actor plays well with others even if at times I felt he was a bit subdued. Johnson was perfect, big and brawny with no issues in revealing that he is more than capable to play both a tough guy and a drug head, religious criminal all in one. Shalhoub I understand was not the original choice for his role but thankfully I could not imagine anyone else since it turns out he really owned this characters personality and the dilemmas life throws at him. Wilson was once again Wilson projecting that dry but humorous nature she has along with her portrayal of a woman in need. Too bad Adrian is not quite the stereotypical black man but she makes due thanks to a shot to the penis from time to time. Paly was good to look at but mainly I think that was her true meaning in the film just for visuals since her role really didn’t need to be more than a bit part. Overall the rest of the cast was a good fit to this ensemble but in the end you’ll find yourself laughing at times, shocked at others and overall offended for several different reasons, even though it’s just a movie, although based on truth! Written and somewhat critical of the content yet enjoyed with two and half paws out of four by Jon Patch
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