Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
While Michael Bay originally conceived "Pain & Gain" as a "small movie" that he would make before his most recent "Transformers" sequel, nothing about Bay's new film is little. As we're repeatedly reminded throughout the film, "Pain & Gain" is based on a true story: Between 1994 and 1995, three Floridan body-builders tried to get rich quick by robbing and killing.
In "Pain & Gain," Bay's typically vile brand of chauvinism is amplified in order to make a silly but grand cynical statement about the scam that is the American dream. Everyone in "Pain & Gain" is corrupt, decadent, or stupid because anyone involved in an American institution is participating in a giant pyramid scheme, including the Florida Savings and Loan, the Miami PD and the gum-chewing blonde at the local Home Depot.
Bay and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe") don't hold back any bile here: With one striking exception, all of the film's characters are immodestly pathetic. "Pain & Gain" is irrepressibly sleazy, frequently exhausting and sometimes as bitterly funny as its creators think it is.
When we're first introduced to Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), he's running from a SWAT team in slow-motion as ropes of spit fly from his gaping mouth. After getting hit by a car, Lugo insists that it's the responsibility of all Americans to realize their potential. "All my heroes are self-made," Lugo burbles enthusiastically, adding that anyone who "squanders their gifts" is simply "unpatriotic." Lugo's delivering a sales pitch to us, and the product he's selling is the story of his failed get-rich-quick scheme.