Netflix Flick of the Week: “Pain and Gain”


Grade (7.5)
out of 10

Pain and Gain is an action/comedy film directed by Michael Bay. Now before you close this page and immediately say this movie is crap, let me explain, because this film is actually pretty good. Starring Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie, the film, based on a true story, is about three gym rats who decided to get rich quick by stealing wealthy business man Victor Kershaw’s (Tony Shalhoub) entire fortune. Their plan involves kidnapping Kershaw and forcing him to sign away his money to them. The film centers on their heist, the aftermath and everything that goes wrong.

The biggest strength the movie has is that it is a comedy. Being directed by Michael Bay this could’ve easily been a poor action flick that takes itself too serious about three guys committing a theft. However the film doesn’t do that, often making fun of the situation our “heroes” are in. While not all of the jokes hit, most of them do and they had me laughing. The film itself is very surreal; ranging from the cinematography to the actual story it is based on.

Mark Wahlberg plays Daniel Lugo, the leader of the small group of criminals. While at first glance it may seem like he’s playing a typical criminal, but surprisingly, his character goes through more than you think he would. Lugo’s personality ranges from an asshole gym rat, a determined go-get’er, a (somewhat) criminal mastermind, a psychotic killer, just psychotic, and a bumbling idiot. Wahlberg has to go through a lot, but he handles it well.

However, the one who really steals show though is Dwayne Johnson’s character Paul Doyle, an ex convict who reformed through religion and Jesus Christ. Now just the idea of The Rock playing a softhearted, religious nut case alone is funny enough, but I found myself laughing at almost everything he did, like comforting the man they just kidnapped to trying to steal money. You never know what his character is going to do, but it’s hilarious either way. The rest of the supporting cast does a good job, though nothing spectacular.

I did find a few problems with the movie though. Like I said, some of the jokes do miss, and when they miss, they really miss. It takes a little while in the beginning to get going and the end of the film gets away a little but from the surreal, goofy tone that was making the movie great. While Anthony Mackie does a fine job as Luco’s partner Adrian, he’s not as a good as Wahlberg or as funny as Johnson.

If you want to have a good time with some friends and watch a silly film about three idiots trying to pull of a kidnapping, then you can’t go wrong here. It has a few moments that make you scratch your head, but as a whole, the film is crazy, funny, and above all else, enjoyable.