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Review: Pain and Gain

Courtesy IMDB

Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. Throw in Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub and Rob Corddry, and what could go wrong? So much. So much could go wrong. So much did go wrong. So very hilariously wrong.

Wahlberg, Johnson and Mackie play three very vascular, viscous, pumped-up trainers at Sun Gym in Miami who are at a crossroads in their lives. When he isn’t choking down protein shakes, lifting, or at the strip club, the head of the gang Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is wallowing in his own lack-of-success wondering what life would be like with just a few more bucks. His gym bro Adrian (Anthony Mackie) just wants to get ass-injected-steroid huge, and Sun Gym newcomer Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) just wants to renew his faith in Jesus…and not go back to jail. Pretty simple desires for all three, really.

Everything just seems so hunky dory until the first time Lugo proposes his plan to kidnap a rich client of his at the gym, and make him sign his assets over to the three amigos. Creepy vans, extremely covert ‘intel’ collection and halloween costumes all play into the master plan in ways that are too hilarious to even describe. After successfully black-bagging their target and getting him to the hideout – things take a turn for the awesomely hilarious when for the next 110 minutes the epic fail that is the magnificently muscular trio’s get-rich-quick plan unfolds.

Stylistic in the most possible way, Michael Bay throws a lot of effort to keep up the neon and lens flared life that was apparently so evident in mid-90’s Miami. Shockingly, Bay utilized many long takes that were less cluttered than any other movie he’s ever played a part in. In fact, theres only one explosion and no robots! Impossible for Bay? Not in the slightest. The movie flows incredibly well, even with the rare appearances of on-screen-text, shaky close-ups and the lengthy overall run time (clocking in at over two hours).

Based off of a true story, there is a ton of bad, mediocre and good jokes thrown into the dialogue to take your mind off of the seriousness of the real crimes committed. In fact, a great balance was struck between the serious ‘What the hell did they just do…’ moments and the moments that will make you repeat with a smile and laugh, ‘What did the hell did they just do?!?’ A ton of awkward mishaps guide the story to fruition, and like being caught with the drunk cussing baby Ben Stiller coddled in “Meet the Fockers“, the main characters find themselves constantly pitted against…themselves…and each other.

Ed Harris and Tony Shalhoub subtly add a completely different dimension to the story, so much so in fact, it seems as if there is a completely different story line happening parallel to the main three wise men’s tale. Harris’ character plays Shalhoub’s private detective and is as lethal and focused as Major K├Ânig in Enemy at the Gates. Rob Corddry once again shows how underrated he truly is with a fantastically balanced performance, dropping hilarious one-liners, then making you almost leap out of your seat with an intensity matched only at times by Wahlberg.

It is worth noting though that in the beginning, character given narratives lazily rule the story telling, where almost every major character at one time speaks over a camera roll that at moments could be construed as the beginning to a 90’s rap video based in Miami. It also falls flat in some areas with lame duck jokes, a-typical performances by Wahlberg at moments, and overly relied upon strip club footage. Or maybe that’s a good thing for some of you? No judging here.

Apart from the faults it has, the interesting and effective cinematography, fantastic performances by Harris, Shalhoub, Corddry, and even Dwayne Johnson, save the movie from total package shrinking roid-rage. Overall I’d give it a 7/10, but I do suggest you see it.

Well, first grab a protien shake, watch My New Haircut, do a s***-load of push-up’s then go see it. Really.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer.