Pain and Gain

I just got back from seeing PAIN AND GAIN, Michael Bay’s latest film, and it was very surprising. The trailer made it look like it was all going to be fun and games, but it delved into some really dark territory. It was the flipside of the American Dream, and the facts were so ridiculous at times it read like a tall tale. The aggression, stupidity and amateurism of the main characters, three musclemen lunkheads out to screw a rich man out of his property, is balanced with the sad and almost touching delusions they all have about how and why they commit their crimes. When it escalates, it just gets out of hand.
I have been an unapologetic follower and lover of Michael Bay’s films and commercial work. Given this very strong script and a brave cast (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie) that isn’t afraid to look dumb and act ugly, his knack for action and wacked out humor comes shining through. He even manages to hit an unabashed level of wry sadness in the end, all of the waste and needless suffering that men will go through to get ahead. He has hit me like this before with THE ISLAND, one of his only box office failures despite a very humanistic streak to it. I hope (and expect) to be hit like this again. Get him out of the Transformers films and give him these small tales, he will make a masterful auteur one day.
Go see it. Make America proud! (cough)

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