Pain and Gain is the kind of film that starts off good and gives up in the end. The fast pace excitement and jokes that come from the build up of friction immediately disappear as soon as the second act of the movie starts. Needless to say, Michael Bay could have cut alot of money out of the budget and a lot of time wasting out of the film if he just made a 45 minute movie about 3 guys pulling off the perfect crime. Wahlberg is Wahlberg. The interchangeable black guy is very pocket black. And The Rock plays the same character as every other movie with a christian twist.
It’s a disservice to the movie watcher how lack luster the film truely becomes in the second crime. As though they had been told that the film was going past timeline, the scenes are rushed and half assed to progress the story to an end. There was more that could have been done with the acting and more that could have been done to pull the dark comedy from all of the tense situations. Wahlberg’s character Daniel goes from being a criminal mastermind and patient negotiator to being a bumbling idiot with an anger problem. You lose all respect for follow through and maliciousness that you developed for them as they fumble with how to use a chainsaw and how to convincingly lose your mind.
In the end, it becomes an awkward comedy of half performed jokes and a quick end. Wahlberg goes from being a cunning Floridian Conman to a babbling Boston Thug. Dwayne Johnson goes from subtle and serious but funny to the slapstick comedy you see in childrens movies. And Interchangeable Black Guy goes from being a role you would need an up-and-coming black actor for to being a role any black comedian could play, even Tracy Morgan. It feels like two different yet connected movies.
The intensity of the moments aren’t dragged out as well as they should have been, and the sarcastic overtones of the story being told from different points of view dissipates toward the end. Everything falls apart in the end: the directing, the acting, and the dialogue. This movie has a lack of follow through that brings out everything they say is a weak point for all of the big names involved. By the end, you think The Rock can’t hold and portray a serious role and bring out the nuances that make it darkly funny, and that he should only do kid’s movies. You leave feeling Wahlberg can’t play anything other than a thug from New England. And you feel that where it could have been a black actors time to shine, they became another outlandish black character with stereotype motivations. And you think that when its time for a director to pull a film together and make it all count for the pay off that viewers were waiting for, Michael Bay will just add some more explosions. It feels inexperienced and like a rip off. Pain and Gain can be a good background noise movie to play at a party or get together, but it doesn’t demand attention. It isn’t even worth it’s weight in boobs and explosions.