Pain and Gain (2013) Miller Meter—4/10

Directed By:  Michael Bay

Written By:  Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Starring:  Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub

R     2 h 9 min – Action | Comedy | Crime

As most of you know and for those of you who don’t, I am not Michael Bay’s biggest fan.  I could write novels on reasons why, but I will try to restrain myself as best I can.  Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) is a personal trainer struggling to make ends meet.  When it comes to anything other than his body he’s pretty lost, almost enough to make you feel sorry for him.  He takes on a client at his gym Victor (Shalhoub) who’s got more money than he knows what to do with and he doesn’t hold back on letting people know either.  Lugo and his buddy Adrian (Mackie) devise a plan to rip this guy off and live a life of hard-bodyness together happily ever after.  They quickly discover that they’ll need a third and stumble across a reformed convict Paul (Johnson) who is as soft as a sheet of Charmin and borderline homosexual.  He joins them reluctantly and offers as much help as his pea size brain allows him.  The three then execute their plan to rip Victor off for all he’s worth.  Now keep in mind this is based on a true story (they tell you that about 17 times during the movie in case you forget).  Ok here it is: the first 15 minutes I was somewhat excited.  I immediately felt a certain affinity for Wahlberg’s character.  I love working out, these guys love working out…maybe I can ignore the filmmaking and just have fun.  NOPE!  Michael Bay’s overly stylized, poorly coordinated and emotionally lacking production value STILL drives me to the edge of a very tall building.  Yes, slow-mo is cool and yes sunsets are pretty…but damnit man I don’t need to see 15 minutes of a movie in slow motion and I don’t need to see cameras panning around and around at twilight hour.  Also where the hell did you get these writers and why didn’t you push them a little bit?  The dialogue felt about as natural as a surprise colonoscopy in a third world country.  The characters had barely enough to get me in the beginning but as the plot unfolded I found myself really not giving a shit what happened to them or the plot, I just wanted it to be over so I could move on with my life.  This movie had potential, and had Antoine Fuqua or John Singleton been behind it I probably would have enjoyed it (and 80% of my rating stems from Bay’s faulty directing).  Michael Bay’s seemingly only talent is being able to con Hollywood studios out of millions and millions of dollars so he can make the same movies OVER AND OVER again with hopes that one day he’ll get it right.  Well guess what Mike, you missed again.  I understand that I am not in the demographic that Bay’s films target (seeing as how I have some understanding as to what is aesthetically pleasing and acceptable as entertainment) but this one had to have disappointed movie goers in general.  Please for the love of god just stop for a few years and let me recover.  Oh wait, we have ANOTHER installment in the transformers franchise coming up next year.  Great.

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