Pain and Gain

First Hit:  This film didn’t know what it wanted to be and I left wondering what the point was.

A film that has to tell you about 2/3 the way through that it is still a true story, means it didn’t do its job. It didn’t make it believable.

It was hard for me to believe that the real life weightlifters Daniel Lugo (played by Mark Wahlberg), Paul Doyal (played by Dwayne Johnson), and Adrian Doorbal (played by Anthony Mackie), would have seen themselves as comically stupid as these actors portrayed them to be. No matter how hard these actors tried to be serious in these roles, they exuded a humorous vein of the stupidity the real life characters couldn’t discern.

What the audience ends up with is some really funny stupidity scenes and the grossness of idiotic violence gone badly. Only Wahlberg seemed capable of portraying believable stupidity but only occasionally. These three guys are tired of their "just getting by existence" so they decide take all of Victor Kershaw’s (Tony Shalhoub) money and assets. T

hey eventually get the money and Victor, who survives the attempted killing by these goons. The cops don’t believe Victor’s story so he’s left to try to get his money back by himself. Then he happens to get ahold of a retired detective named Ed DuBois (Ed Harris) who believes him and begins to unravel the caper.

The boys run through their ill-gotten goods quickly and decide to hit another and, of course, this one falls apart quickly and they get caught.

Wahlberg is the most believable of the actors but the film’s direction didn’t have a clear vision. Johnson is OK but I didn’t buy his character's addictions and therefore I didn’t buy his character. Mackie was the weakest of the three and that might have been the intention because his real life character might have been somewhat wishy-washy. Shalhoub was good as the arrogant tough guy first victim. Harris was one of the better things of this film. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote this script from a true story. Michael Bay misdirected this as the film never seemed to find a center.

Overall:  This film just didn’t work very well although there were some really funny bits.