Firstly, Iíve been an avid gym goer for fifteen years now. I work out hard, and like most guys in the gym, discovered long ago that the human body only goes so far without help. Iíve been a personal trainer, and Iíve dabbled here and there to reach optimum muscle goals. Because of this, I get the underlining of this film, or so I thought. Many people are dubbing this film, ďa movie about three steroid head dummiesĒ, which isnít altogether untrue, but itís not exactly fair either. Then thereís the true story aspect of things, which again, doesnít help or hinder the experience. Not many people will be able to ďget intoĒ this film, and most wonít want to, because despite the humor in the trailer, this isnít a comedy and the characters are anything but likable.
And thatís the real flaw here, the characters. Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and the Rock arenít guys you root for. Yes, theyíre slightly more likeable than their mark, Victor Kershaw, but theyíre not people you want to see win. Wahlbergís Danny Lugo has his moments of genuine humor, but the Rock is the hero of this film in that department. From being able to hear the thoughts in his head (like Dexter), to having an obsession with Jesus, and being completely wasted on coke, the Rock is a scene stealer (the BBQ scene is absolutely hilarious). Yet, for all the promises the trailer makes, as I pointed out, this flick isnít a comedy and moments of humor are few and far between. And Iíll be honest, itís frat boy humor, nothing more.
PAIN & GAIN isnít for everyone, and will be scrutinized accordingly. Bay haters will hate. Anyone not into fitness, or who have a bias against bodybuilding will hate. As a feature film based on true events we could do far worse, as in the end, these ridiculous ďshake your headĒ moments are what helps ground this film. The pace can be erratic at times, but the dialogue and camaraderie between characters is at least fun. I felt Adrianís marriage was a bit overblown, and I wouldíve loved to see more Ken Jeong, but all in all this isnít a complete write-off. That said, I was expecting more.