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2116999 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2013-04-24 08:30:00.0 UTC 2013-04-24T04:30:00.000-04:00 review-pain--gain-nothing-to-laugh-at published 2014-02-12 11:34:58.0 UTC 2014-02-12T06:34:58.000-05:00 things-to-do/movies DTI 106118989 By Steve Persall Times Movie Critic Pain & Gain is director Michael Bay's attempt at making a "small" movie, after fleecing the world for years with mega-budget boom. It's typically sledgehammer-subtle, albeit with a $25 million budget that wouldn't cover cleanup costs for one of his Transformers flicks. Bay simply makes literal a style often described as steroid cinema, swapping mechanical behemoths for flesh-and-blood ones like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and a beefed-up Mark Wahlberg. They don't cost as much to construct as Autobots and Decepticons but apparently are just as malleable to Bay's misguided vision. Pain & Gain is a movie living up to only half its title. The story is based in the sort of reality Bay has no experience in presenting, much less satirizing as he seems to want to try. It's a tale of unspeakable violence committed by ruthless criminals that's presented as a buddy comedy. The more we're expected to laugh, the less we feel inclined to do so. First the facts: In 1994, fitness trainers Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal at Miami's Sun Gym devised a plan to kidnap a businessman client and force him into signing over his life savings. The scheme went horribly wrong, resulting in the victim's prolonged torture and a grisly murder attempt. Nonetheless it inspired Lugo and Doorbal into another scheme leading to the brutal murders and dismemberment of two people in 1995. Are you laughing yet? Now the movie: Bay sees this scenario solely as an adrenaline-pumping comedy of errors, spearheaded by Wahlberg and Johnson, two of today's most popular action stars. Names and facts are changed or embellished, seemingly to protect the guilty from being considered anything less than antiheroes. Pain & Gain is a shockingly amoral movie yet occasionally rambunctious enough to make viewers overlook that. Especially in the first half-hour, when Lugo (Wahlberg) lays out his deluded view of the world: Being unfit is unpatriotic, abs are everything, and life is best guided not by conscience but a self-help guru (Ken Jeong). Then the easy jokes creep in: Doorbal's (Anthony Mackie) penile dysfunction due to steroid use, his girlfriend/nurse (Rebel Wilson, one of the movie's several sexist stereotypes), a composite, born-again accomplice (Johnson), and various groin-related gags. The movie's best performance — and worst defamation — belongs to Tony Shalhoub, playing the first victim as a conniving, egotistical jerk who deserves to be kidnapped, maimed and ruined financially. Even if the characterization were true, it wouldn't deserve such treatment. But maybe that's all we can expect from Bay, who clearly understands soulless machinery better than human beings and their emotions. Steve Persall can be reached at persall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter. By Steve Persall, Times Movie Critic things-to-do, Movies false 24766486 Review: 'Pain & Gain' nothing to laugh at By Steve Persall <p>There's nothing to gain from making a joke out of a real-life tragedy in South Florida.</p> WEK Weekend-Fullrun Torture.Murder.Why aren't we laughing? <p><b>&gt;&gt;</b><b>Review</b></p> <p><b>Pain </b><b>&amp; Gain</b></p> <p><b>Director: </b>Michael Bay</p> <p><b>Cast: </b>Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris, Ken Jeong, Rob Corddry, Bar Paly, Michael Rispoli, Keili Lefkovitz</p> <p><b>Screenplay: </b>Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on magazine articles by Pete Collins</p> <p><b>Rating:</b> R; strong violence, profanity, drug and sexual content, nudity</p> <p><b>Running time: </b>129 min.</p> <p><b>Grade: </b>C-</p> External input 8 wkpainreview042513 Torture.Murder.Why aren't we laughing? 2013-04-25 04:00:00.0 UTC 2013-04-25T00:00:00.000-04:00 1 Anthony Mackie, left, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson play members of the Sun Gym gang in Michael Bay&#8217;s utterly unsubtle Pain & Gain. /resources/images/dti/2013/04/wek_paingain042513c_10669058.jpg Paramount Pictures /resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/04/wek_paingain042513c_10669058_4col.jpg/resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/04/wek_paingain042513c_10669058_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2013/04/24/106118989-review-pain--gain-nothing-to-laugh-at StaffArticle 2013-04-23 23:10:00.0 UTC 2013-04-23T19:10:00.000-04:00 things-to-do,moviesMoviesBy Steve PersallTimes Movie CriticPain & Gain is director Michael Bay's attempt at making a "small" movie, after fleecing the world for years with mega-budget boom. It's typically sledgehammer-subtle, albeit with a $25 million budget that wouldn't cover cleanup costs for one of his Transformers flicks.things-to-do, Moviesthings-to-do, MoviesSteve Persall 380134 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:37:46.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:37:46.000-04:00 steve-persall published 2015-06-15 19:45:06.0 UTC 2015-06-15T15:45:06.000-04:00 Steve Persall <p>Steve Persall's movie reviews usually appear in Thursday's Weekend section but &mdash; like his columns, features and interviews &mdash; can pop up anywhere in the <i>Tampa Bay Times</i>, any day of the week. Persall was conceived behind a Tarpon Springs drive-in theater his father managed, making him practically born for this job. He lives in Clearwater with his wife, Dianne (a.k.a. the right side of his brain), and trusty dog, Mojo.</p> Times Movie Critic writers DTI 33745752 Steve Persall's movie reviews usually appear in Thursday's Weekend section but — like his columns, features and interviews — can pop up anywhere in the Tampa Bay Times, any day of the week. Persall was conceived behind a Tarpon Springs drive-in theater his father managed, making him practically born for this job. He lives in Clearwater with his wife, Dianne (a.k.a. the right side of his brain), and trusty dog, Mojo. <p>Phone: (727) 893-8365</p> <p>Email: <a href="mailto:spersall@tampabay.com">spersall@tampabay.com</a></p> <p>Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/StevePersall">@StevePersall</a></p> 1 /resources/images/dti/2015/06/steve-persall_15330316.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745752-steve-persall AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:37:46.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:37:46.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">STEVE PERSALL</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Movie Critic 2265076 2016-02-12 05:15:58.0 UTC 6 Months Ago review-so-last-season-zoolander-2-gives-us-nothing-to-laugh-about things-to-do/movies Review: So last season, 'Zoolander 2' gives us nothing to laugh about StaffArticle 2277715 2016-05-17 17:58:19.0 UTC 3 Months Ago review-the-nice-guys-wins-retro-laughs-with-crowe-and-gosling things-to-do/movies Review: 'The Nice Guys' wins retro laughs with Crowe and Gosling StaffArticle 2288762 2016-08-09 16:05:22.0 UTC 3 Weeks Ago review-sausage-party-brings-raunchy-laughs-to-the-grocery-aisle things-to-do/movies Review: 'Sausage Party' brings raunchy laughs to the grocery aisle StaffArticle <p><b>By Steve Persall</b></p> <p><i>Times Movie Critic</i></p> <p><i><b>P</b></i><i>ain </i><i>&amp; Gain</i> is director Michael Bay's attempt at making a &quot;small&quot; movie, after fleecing the world for years with mega-budget boom. It's typically sledgehammer-subtle, albeit with a $25 million budget that wouldn't cover cleanup costs for one of his <i>Transformers</i> flicks.</p> <p>Bay simply makes literal a style often described as steroid cinema, swapping mechanical behemoths for flesh-and-blood ones like Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson and a beefed-up Mark Wahlberg. They don't cost as much to construct as Autobots and Decepticons but apparently are just as malleable to Bay's misguided vision. <i>Pain </i><i>&amp; Gain</i> is a movie living up to only half its title.</p> <p>The story is based in the sort of reality Bay has no experience in presenting, much less satirizing as he seems to want to try. It's a tale of unspeakable violence committed by ruthless criminals that's presented as a buddy comedy. The more we're expected to laugh, the less we feel inclined to do so.</p> <p>First the facts: In 1994, fitness trainers Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal at Miami's Sun Gym devised a plan to kidnap a businessman client and force him into signing over his life savings. The scheme went horribly wrong, resulting in the victim's prolonged torture and a grisly murder attempt. Nonetheless it inspired Lugo and Doorbal into another scheme leading to the brutal murders and dismemberment of two people in 1995.</p> <p>Are you laughing yet?</p> <p>Now the movie: Bay sees this scenario solely as an adrenaline-pumping comedy of errors, spearheaded by Wahlberg and Johnson, two of today's most popular action stars. Names and facts are changed or embellished, seemingly to protect the guilty from being considered anything less than antiheroes. <i>Pain </i><i>&amp; Gain</i> is a shockingly amoral movie yet occasionally rambunctious enough to make viewers overlook that.</p> <p>Especially in the first half-hour, when Lugo (Wahlberg) lays out his deluded view of the world: Being unfit is unpatriotic, abs are everything, and life is best guided not by conscience but a self-help guru (Ken Jeong). Then the easy jokes creep in: Doorbal's (Anthony Mackie) penile dysfunction due to steroid use, his girlfriend/nurse (Rebel Wilson, one of the movie's several sexist stereotypes), a composite, born-again accomplice (Johnson), and various groin-related gags.</p> <p>The movie's best performance — and worst defamation — belongs to Tony Shalhoub, playing the first victim as a conniving, egotistical jerk who deserves to be kidnapped, maimed and ruined financially. Even if the characterization were true, it wouldn't deserve such treatment. But maybe that's all we can expect from Bay, who clearly understands soulless machinery better than human beings and their emotions.</p> <p><i>Steve Persall can be reached at persall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow</i> @StevePersall on Twitter.</p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:37:10