By Darlene Donloe
If the film, Pain & Gain, was not a true story, no one would believe it.
In theaters nationwide today, this movie is so unbelievable that one can’t fathom this movie having any amount of truth.
Michael Bay’s latest high-energy, action-comedy, set in 1990’s Miami, stars Mark Wahlberg as Daniel Lugo, Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle and Anthony Mackie as Adrian Doorbal, all steroid abusing bodybuilders who, in longing for the American dream, launch a kidnapping scheme and extortion ring that involves stealing Victor Kershaw’s (Tony Shaloub) entire wealth.
(l-r) ANTHONY MACKIE, DWAYNE JOHNSON
and MARK WAHLBERG
However, this bumbling trio is so inept they stumble at every turn. It’s not quite clear if the trio’s antics are hilarious or downright sad.
Lugo is a trainer at a gym, who has grown impatient with achieving the American dream. After attending a wealth seminar led by Ken Jeong’s character Johnny Wu, and listening to one of his wealthy clients go on and on about his wealth and finances, Lugo decides to steal the man’s life and wealth. Wu insists all of his followers feel like ‘doers’ not ‘don’t-ers’. Once he’s fully indoctrinated, he enlists the help of Doyle and Doorbal.
ANTHONY MACKIE, MARK WAHLBERG
and DWAYNE JOHNSON
This trio is so Keystone-Cops-acting that they think they can simply kidnap Kershaw and force him to sign over all of his assets and not have anyone, including the bankers, his employees or even his family tip off the police.
Well, they were pretty much right. But, what they didn’t count on was Kershaw being a tough cookie.
(l-r) DWAYNE JOHNSON, TONY SHALOUB
and MARK WAHLBERG
WARNING: There is a lot of violence and brutality that is hard to stomach at times.
There are some exceptional performances in this film, including Wahlberg, Johnson, Mackie and Shaloub. Rebel Wilson, who plays Robin Peck, who eventually marries Doorbal, Ed Harris, who plays former detective Ed DuBois and Rob Corddry, who plays gym owner John Mese, also provide fabulous performances.
Johnson really showcases his acting chops as a former criminal, now hilarious born again Christian.
Wahlberg has solidified the fact that he’s joined the ranks as one of the best action/comedy stars working today.
Shaloub is spectacularly despicable as Kershaw, a filthy rich restaurant owner.
Rebel Wilson couldn’t be funnier.
Mackie holds up his end.
Pain & Gain (Paramount Pictures) is written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by Michael Bay.
Pain & Gain, directed by Michael Bay, stars Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shaloub, Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris and Ken Jeong.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable) O (OK) and E (excellent), Pain & Gain gets an O (OK).
MPAA rating: R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, rough language throughout and drug use. Running time: 2 hr. 9 min.