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Pain & Gain

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Michael Bay

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About the Movie

Michael Bay’s hilarious action comedy Pain & Gain is GoodFellas on steroids. When an ambitious group of personal trainers (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) go after the American Dream, they get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong. Now, living large will take everything they’ve got in the unbelievable true story that critics are calling outrageously entertaining.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 188
  • Fresh: 94
  • Rotten: 94
  • Average Rating: 5.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: In between scenes of the muscleheads torturing their victim, Bay indulges his taste for treating women as sluts and grisly brutality as a nifty excuse for a cheap laugh. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, May 2, 2013

Rotten: This crude and ugly entertainment is as crass as everything this depressingly successful filmmaker has done. – Tom Charity,, Apr 26, 2013

Fresh: While Pain & Gain often frustrates, Bay's overwhelming cinematic sense is undeniable. – Nick Pinkerton, Sight and Sound, Jun 6, 2014

Fresh: The uneasy blend of comedy and ultra-violence will turn some viewers off but, if you can stomach it, you may find yourself curiously entertained. – Rebecca Davies, Film4, Aug 29, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


I'll admit, when I first saw the trailer for "Pain & Gain," I was actually pretty excited. Despite the blatant fact that it was being directed by the master of mindless, action-packed entertainment himself, Michael Bay, this film still looked extremely interesting, with an intriguing true-story premise to boot. So I decided to give it a good chance, hoping that it'd at least provide the bare minimum requirements for hyper-stylized, big-budget comical action. And while it definitely ended up being one of Bay's more consistently enjoyable movies in recent years, this blockbuster wasn't without its big share of issues. In a nutshell, the plot follows a trio of macho, half-witted bodybuilders: Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) in 1990s-era Miami who come up with a moronic scheme to kidnap and extort money from a shady businessman named Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) in the dumbest way possible - all so they can get a taste of the "American dream." And they actually do get away with it (at least for a little while). But then it all goes downhill for our anti-heroes from there, sorta like this movie itself. One thing you just might notice right off the bat is that Bay has decidedly taken an extremely lighthearted look at what is otherwise a brutally grim and disturbing story, which either displays the kind of depth we never knew he possessed, or reflects a shocking lack of self-awareness for the material. In this case, I'm simply gonna go with the latter theory. Bay is so obsessed with making the film look cool, with its sun-drenched settings and overabundance of machismo, that he practically abandons the most important aspects he should be focusing on: building a comprehensive story with engaging characters. And I think it's safe to say he hasn't been able to accomplish that task very well in the past (let alone here). Wahlberg, Johnson, and Mackie are intriguing to watch as three dumb-as-rocks personal trainers-turned-kidnappers who idiotically attempt to go after the American dream the only way they truly know how, but the script never lets them stand out in a way that feels natural or even coherent to the plot. Sure, they spout snappy one-liners in just about every scene and partake in more than a few high-energy action sequences, but all of that isn't enough to make up for their weakly developed characters. Wahlberg alone is solidly enjoyable as the manic ringleader of the group who'll go to any idiotic length to achieve fortune, while Mackie is mostly left in the dust, as the movie barely even focuses on his role as a desperate-for-success gym rat who gets in a hilarious relationship with a feisty nurse, played by Rebel Wilson. And then there's Johnson, who commits so tirelessly to his character's one-dimensional religious nut persona that it sometimes feels more like an awkward parody of something rather than a believable performance. But at least he's one of the only few actors in the movie who manages to come off as strangely likable and charming, so the role isn't entirely flawed. Meanwhile, Shalhoub and Ed Harris give equally solid supporting performances as the men looking to put Lugo, Doyle, and Doorbal to swift justice, with Shalhoub in particular stealing a lot of scenes as a sleazy, foul-mouthed businessman who'll literally stop at nothing to get back the money stolen from him. But all acting aside, the film is still mostly let down by a chaotic screenplay that feels overly jumbled and unevenly executed. We get that it's supposed to be a black comedy full of wildly explosive action, seemingly endless raunch, and sharp satirical edginess, but because Bay just never knows when enough is enough, his direction goes way overboard, to the point where the entire flick eventually starts collapsing in on itself. The endless narration (provided by multiple actors at any given moment) often gives away too much of the mystery of the characters, the dialogue is usually too corny and over-the-top to really resonate, and the writers try way too hard to make the story feel darkly funny. In the end, "Pain & Gain" may be a step above Bay's previous movies, but more often than not, it's bogged down by the director's stylistic excess and inconsistent light-hearted/mean-spirited storytelling. It's an indulgent, unsubtle crime flick that delivers its straightforward message with a brutal, sledgehammer-like force, with Bay displaying his love for grisly violence, scantily clad women, and action-packed spectacle in each scene. I feel like if this had been directed by the Coen brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson, or Steven Soderbergh, we could've gotten a much more focused and engaging product. But then again, this is Bay we're talking about, and the guy has stuck with his trusty, well-worn moviemaking formula for years now, so it's pretty unlikely he'll be changing up his style anytime soon. Even so, I still enjoyed the movie, at least on a visual and visceral level thanks to its overly flashy cinematography and energetic score, so it wasn't an entirely bad experience. Long story short, "Pain & Gain" isn't for everyone. But if you like pitch-black humor and choppily edited action sequences, it's worth a watch.

All Pain & NO Gain

Having seen the documentary on 'Revenge for Real' and then reading about it, I was pretty stoked to see this film on the big screen, especially since it had Mark Wahlberg & Dwayne Johnson in it. Unfortunately, this film is in the top 5 of worst films I've ever seen! I don't blame the actors. I blame the screen play writer and the director, Michael Bay. In fact, I almost walked out twice and unfortunately, decided not to hoping it would improve. Needless to say, it only got progressively worse. It takes the events of the original story, changes the personification of the main character, leaves out the main secondary character and then twists it into a gratuitously violent & profane dark comedy that is anything but funny. It repeatedly reminds you that it's a true story. Yeah right! If that's the definition of 'true story', then so was 'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.' And the movie is over 2 hours that seemed like 4. I've only been in two films where the audience actually BOOed out loud afterwards. The first being 'Superman Returns' and 'Pain & Gain' was the second. This movie isn't even a rental, so save your money.


From the look of the trailer I expected something like Bad Boys 2, but this film was much more darker and serious. It was actually much better than I expected. This was unlike anything I've seen from Michael Bay. The story, camera shots and score music stayed in my mind days after seeing this. Also I think it being based off of a true story made it even more captivating. The story is basically about these three dumb bodybuilders that feel they deserve more in life so they decide to kill and rob their richest client at the gym where they work at. The first half of the movie is fun, but the second half gets really sick and disturbing. But the whole purpose of this film is to show how far people will go to get what they want. There honestly is no way possible to tell this story in a serious matter considering its so dumb and ridiculous it would just come off as unintentionally funny. So a black comedy would be the best way to tell it. And considering Michael Bay's moral indecency and over the topness he honestly is the best man to tell this story. Overall I really liked Pain and Gain. It's insane, over the top, unpredictable and very original. It's beautifully filmed. Every camera shot is stunning and the score music is simply amazing. However If you're a person that loves Transformers & or The Rock then I can pretty much guarantee that your not going to like Pain & Gain at all. Its not a silly fun movie like Transformers and The Rock gives his worst performance to date. But if you like original movies that are crazy and unpredictable then Pain & Gain is the movie for you. I highly recommend checking it out!!!