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"Pain & Gain": Michael Bay Gets His T&A 

Wednesday, Apr 24 2013

In the hands of another director, Pain & Gain could well have been an entertaining little caper flick. In the hands of Michael Bay, it's loud and vulgar, as Michael Bay's films are wont to be. There are few of his trademark 'splosions, but with an R rating he finally gets to show all the uncovered flesh that the Hasbro fuddie-duddies wouldn't allow. (It's enough to make you look forward to Transformers 4.) Based on a true case in 1990s Miami, personal trainer Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) convinces clients Paul (Dwayne Johnson) and Adrian (Anthony Mackie) to kidnap another, far wealthier client (Tony Shaloub). The only thing Bay's camera loves more than silicone-enhanced stripper breasts is bulging male pectorals, though the homoeroticism of such muscle worship is leavened by virulent queer-bashing. (Pain & Gain never misses an opportunity to be homophobic, except for when it's busy hating on fat people.) The only pleasure is in Dwayne Johnson's truly funny performance — he has excellent comic timing, and his scenes with Shaloub are so fun, it's hard not to wish the movie had been just the two of them. Perhaps that would be too much of a good thing, but then again, we've already seen too much of a bad thing, and its name is Pain & Gain.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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