Ever ruminate what being a drug dealing bodybuilder in Florida in the ‘90s would be like?
Director Michael Bay has your answer in his newest blockbuster “Pain and Gain” starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in
a dark comedy without any of the explosives and CGI effects he’s infamous for.
Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) is tired of having a million-dollar body with little to show for it. Fresh out of jail and working at a local gym, he befriends trainer Adrian Doorbal (Mackie). Although life is simple in South Florida, the egotistical Lugo yearns for more money, women and success,
believing he should be entitled to it because of his physical prowess. Lugo trains Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a new customer at the Sun Gym, and learns about his lavish lifestyle of money and women. Envious of Kershaw, Lugo and Doorbal devise a plan to kidnap, extort and rob Kershaw for his riches with the help of uber-religious and incompetent cocaine-addicted gym member, Paul Doyle (Johnson).
Without giving too much away or spoiling the movie, the three-man clan attempt to deliver their plan and stay on the run while living in the lap of luxury. The crew eventually must elude authorities and private investigator Ed DuBois (Ed Harris) while keeping their antics in check.
At a tad over two hours, the action is captivating and the dialogue between the Sun Gym Gang is hilarious as the three stars deliberate on everything from sex and drugs,
to their narcissistic views . Throw actress Rebel Wilson in the mix and the awkward jokes are bound to make you at least chuckle.
It also doesn’t hurt to have Miami in the backdrop as eye candy throughout the film.
When you think about Miami-Dade County, you think of bright colors and patterns, and “Pain and Gain” delivers in that area.
From Mackie rocking a throwback Dan Marino teal Dolphins jersey and striped spandex workout shorts, to Wahlberg decked out in an Adidas track suit
and Johnson in bright neon Nike tank tops, the men are clad in ‘90s dude staples. Although the film has a nostalgic feeling, it’s still fresh when you consider it’s been years since Bay last directed an action comedy involving two or three dumb jocks in the playground that is Miami (Bad Boys 2).
While the clan is jacked up off pills and syringes, their brains aren’t bigger than beans, thus providing the entertainment in their constant mishaps along the way. It’s not until Harris becomes involved in the latter portion of the film that we realize laughing and enjoying the bad guys is morally wrong. Throw in the fact that the film is based on the real life actions of the Sun Gym Gang, responsible for the real-life murders of a Florida couple, and Wahlberg's psychotic character is deemed unfunny.
Lugo killed people for his American dream. The money, cars and women were all he wanted and he thought it would finally make him happy
, but in the end, he still felt empty. Meanwhile, the investigator that hunts for the gang lives a quiet and enjoyable life with his wife, a stark contrast to the flashy lifestyle they coveted in the sinful playground of Miami where money and image are the root of evil.
Was it all worth it? There’s a saying that goes, 'What's worse: to never get it or to make it and lose it all?' That’s the million-dollar question, and Bay does a great job presenting it in this enjoyable dark comedy.