Pain and Gain (2013) dir. Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris
By Alan Bacchus
Wahlberg plays an underachieving fitness trainer who after becoming hypnotized by a self help guru who identifies people as doers or don'ters, Wahlberg seeks to become a doer. And without any moral conscience scams a disreputable client (Shaloub) of his fortune. A roll call of unbelievably cruel and violent events occur over the next year of these guys' lives as they scramble to keep their fortune, evade the cops, drug dealers and the fallibility of their own hubris and incompetence.
Again Bay surrounds himself with the most homophobic, mysoginist, self-centred and rude characters imaginable. But unlike say his characters of Bad Boys we're not meant to sympathize with these guys. Pain and Gain is his most identifiably satirical film. Satirical of the body building culture, self-gurus and all around American dream wannabes.
Driven by Bay's signature rat-a-tat dialogue and numerous montage scenes this film doesn't need any action scenes, pace is fast and furious from the outset and is as frantic and crazed as anything he's ever done.
The trio of Wahlberg, Mackie and the Rock make their inhumane characters surprisingly warm and endearing. Unfortunately Bay just doesn't know when to stop as at two hours and ten minutes it's utterly exhausting. Even before the two hour mark we're begging for the film to end.
That said at the very least we can admire the film for some of the best eye candy in cinema this year. Music video lighting, bold eye popping colour saturated set design are all in keeping with the theme of engorged over abundance.
Pain and Gain is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount Home Media