Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Now at Netflix Instant: Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain & Gain (2013) - Directed by Michael Bay; Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely; Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shaloub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong.

By Kenny Howell

I really wish someone other than Michael Bay had directed this movie.

It's not to say he did a terrible job. As manic as this movie is, which the story lends itself to, Bay is probably in the most control he has been. I think for more than a few minutes, the camera is actually some sort of still.

But this movie is really funny. Or at least it should be. There are plenty of laughs, but I think someone who could handle comedy better would have made this a great movie. It is still pretty good.

Mark Wahlberg plays a jacked personal trainer by the name of Daniel Lugo. He is kind of obsessed by a motivational speaker by the name of Johnny Wu (Jeong), who does events talking about all his money and women, which of course he brings along with him. That is exactly what the meathead Lugo wants, so he pulls in his buddies Paul and Adrian to achieve the American dream. Unfortunately, they are idiots and they turn to kidnapping and extortion of the owner of Schlotzky's (Shaloub). Being idiots, things get progressively worse, and many other crimes start piling on top of the original one.

Everyone is pretty over the top in the film, which works in the story, but it could have been dialed back a bit. The characters at times seem like cartoons, and it takes away from the fact that this was a real story, and these were real idiots. No matter the excess the film goes to, it is still entertaining just for the sheer lunacy of these guys. The true story keeps you watching.

Pain & Gain is also available at Redbox, iTunes and is free on Amazon Instant for Prime users.

Rating: **1/2

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