Pain & Gain Might Be Sort of Brilliant
Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson star in Michael Bay's latest
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 26, 2013 8:42 AM CDT
Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle, Mark Wahlberg as Daniel Lugo, and Anthony Mackie as Adrian Doorbal.   (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Mark Fellman)

(Newser) – Michael Bay's latest movie is a bit of a shift from Transformers—it's a smaller-budget film based on a true story about bodybuilders who get involved in kidnapping. Critics offer mixed reviews:

  • At Salon, Andrew O'Hehir calls Pain & Gain "a thoroughly reprehensible and frequently hilarious satire that depicts American life as a circus of stupidity, artificiality, and self-regard." Bay, he notes, "sends a clear message to those of us who've been making fun of him: He's been in on the joke the whole time."

  • "Compared with Armageddon or the Transformers series," this is "a stripped-down, modest enterprise in which no major American city is reduced to rubble," notes AO Scott in the New York Times. It "leaves you pondering whether you have just seen a monumentally stupid movie or a brilliant movie about the nature and consequences of stupidity." But "why choose?"
  • "The combination of the words 'Michael Bay' and 'steroids' should be enough to give any moviegoer pause," observes Liam Lacey in the Globe and Mail. The film "plays like Goodfellas as performed by the Three Stooges. As a genre-mashing exercise it’s almost interesting, but, really, why bother?"
  • "Pain & Gain is arguably too much of everything—everyone jabbers on incessantly, and the movie is in love with its own outrageousness," writes Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News. "But its biggest lift comes from the pumped-up (Mark) Wahlberg and (Dwayne) Johnson. They manage to find the humanity in all the adrenalized muscle."

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Pain & Gain Might Be Sort of Brilliant is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 5 comments
May 4, 2013 10:40 PM CDT
It really was a fantastic movie...I was really curious how they were going to take one of South Florida's most horrible and bizarre tales of kidnapping, torture, and theft and turn it into a action-comedy, by MICHAEL BAY no less!!! But, It worked, and it was really good too. definitely recommended.
Apr 26, 2013 6:35 PM CDT
This story's headline is annoying. I wish people would stop using a moderate adjective ("sort of") with hyperbole ("brilliant"). It's cutesy without making any sense.
Apr 26, 2013 11:56 AM CDT
Way too much nudity for me.