Friday, April 26, 2013

Pain & Gain

Rated R / Runtime 2 hr 10 min / Action, Comedy, Crime

These guys like to work out, but working out doesn't pay the bills.  Physical Trainer Daniel Lugo (played by Mark Wahlberg) has an idea to change all of that.  A self-help seminar motivates him to take action.  He decides to kidnap Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), and make him sign over all of his belongings.  He recruits his best friend Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-con Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) to help with his nefarious plans.

The acting in this movie is top notch.  Wahlberg's ability to not laugh while maintaining his roided out intensity helps make some truly hilarious moments.  The Rock also does a great job playing a deeply religious junkie that has a violent streak.  Shalhoub is excellent as the unlikable hostage.  The scene where he first speaks with the police is priceless.  Mackie's performance has to be considered the weak link.  He does a good job, but I think someone like Terry Crews would have made a better choice for the role.  Ed Harris lends his experience to the movie as well in a semi-minor role.  There are several other minor characters who fill their roles well enough, but none really have much of an impact.  I did enjoy the eye candy provided by Bar Paly and some of the other females in the movie.

This movie is very funny.  Even at over 2 hours long, it never really drags.  Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson really make this movie what it is.  The three main characters are all idiots, but Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) has convinced the other two that he is a genius.  Their bumbling and stumbling the whole time make it highly entertaining.  The script is well crafted giving the actors a chance to shine.  At points the movie even has to remind us all that it is based on a true story.  That's how ridiculous it gets.  

The most surprising thing about this movie is that it's directed by Michael Bay.  He is best known for making vapid action movies that replace plot with large loud explosions.  The kind of movies that require a complete shutdown of the brain to enjoy.  This one was a pleasant surprise for me.  The previews looked like it would be a mildly amusing film.  Also with the name Michael Bay attached to it I wasn't expecting much.  He should make more films like this.  It was like watching a modern non-slapstick version of the Three Stooges on steroids..  literally.

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