review – ‘pain and gain’


In the Movie Bible according to Michael Bay, this movie’s director, the first – maybe only – commandment is this: Thou shalt do everything to excess or thou shalt not bother doing it at all. In so many movies – ‘Armageddon,’ ‘Pearl Harbor,’ ‘Transformers,’ and others – Bay has taken that commandment to the bank and cashed it in for big money. He applies the same approach here: This is loud, long, violent, mostly filled with shiny toys (in this case, sex toys), a stupid plot orchestrated by idiots and morons, and always well…excessive.

Arguably, his approach works (at least at the box office) with movies whose subjects include aliens, end-of-world times, and war on a large scale. It doesn’t work well here. This is a film where the excess – of bodybuilders with more muscle than brains, women who can barely act and mostly act wearing barely nothing, violence that gets increasingly bloody and out of control – just lengthens the story, strains our credibility, and tries our patience. There is too much of the superfluous things — sex, nudity, language, violence, minor characters — and not enough of the essential things — a good story and sharp writing – to make this a st