Written by / 4/26/2013 / No comments / , , , , ,

PAIN & GAIN

year: 2013 cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Tony Shalhoub rating: **1/2
Based on a true story about three really dumb guys, and if it weren’t for all the blood and guts you’d think PAIN & GAIN was another THREE STOOGES reboot. It’s questionable if director Michael Bay, who at least tells a story without overdoing his usual editorial distractions, shaky cameras and extreme closeups, were making a slapstick comedy or a Tarantinoesque crime flick of the heist nature: Beginning with a flash of Mark Walhberg’s Daniel Lugo being chased by the police, his body flying in the air and his head smashing into a windshield: That’s the future and we quickly leap to the past where our story, eventually narrated by just about every character on board, properly introduces Lugo as a personal trainer in a mediocre weight lifting gym. He really takes his job seriously, wanting his clients to be as musclebound as he is. Especially the annoyingly opinionated millionaire Victor Kershaw who, played by Tony Shalhoub, becomes the target for a bizarre kidnapping scheme.

Lugo’s partners in crime are likewise muscular dimwits: African American Adrian (Anthony Mackie) has an embarrassing testosterone problem while Dwayne Johnson’s Paul Doyle, the Curly of these particular STOOGES, is an ex-convict Born Again to an intentionally idiotic level. The most involving scenes have the trio putting their plan into action, which includes several failed attempts. The characters work great together as criminal climbers, playing off each other’s gifts (muscle) and shortcomings (brains). After Victor's successfully kidnapped the film morphs into a half-baked dark comedy where torture and violence is treated like a pie fight; yet there's still a plot at hand. It's when Victor’s out of the picture (somewhat) and the buffoons get deeper and deeper in a hole… Doyle becomes a cokehead and Lugo plans an even more ludicrous scheme… you'll wish they'd attempt something simple, like bank robbery or a jewelry heist – at least they'd have a destination!

Ed Harris as Victor’s gumshoe investigator, eventually putting the jigsaw together, is only necessary for tying up all the loose ends, which should have happened much sooner.
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