This might be the best Three Stooges movie ever made. It amazes me that the basic plot of this movie is based on a true story and actually happened. Of course the majority of the details portrayed in the movie have been changed to make for a more entertaining experience but still the basics remain the same. In the late 1990’s, the Sun Gym Gang (consisting of body builders) kidnapped a man and forced him to sign away his belongings to them. They subsequently went on to murder a husband and wife and dispose of the bodies before being caught and sent to court.
In the film’s version of events, Daniel Lugo is a bodybuilder, a personal trainer at a gym, and a self-proclaimed go-getter who believes he deserves the big life. Why does he deserve this? Well because he wants it and because he takes care of his body and that makes him better than other people. He comes up with a scheme to kidnap one of his weakling clients and force him to sign away all of his belongings and wealth to him and his two buddies. Together with Adrian Doorbal, an impotent steroid user, and Paul Doyle, an ex-con who has seen the light and taken up Christianity, they kidnap Lugo’s client and torture him until he gives them his stuff. Then they try to murder him in a half-baked plan. Their victim survives and hires a private investigator to bring his assailants to justice.
Michael Bay is on the top of his game directing this movie. Everything about Bay’s directing style is about going bigger, better, faster. He always hires younger and hotter starlets. Makes bigger and louder explosions. Shows off shinier and more expensive cars. Bay is a master of excess which makes this movie the perfect package for his directing style. “Pain & Gain” stars Mark Wahlberg as Daniel Lugo, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Paul Doyle, and Anthony Mackie as Adrian Doorbal. These three play off each other incredibly well and are never a bore to watch. Filling out the rest of the main cast are Tony Shalhoub as Lugo’s client who they kidnap and Ed Harris as the detective hired to find the three idiots. Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson, and Ken Jeong all have smaller roles that are pretty memorable as well.
I’ll be the first to say that I am not a big Michael Bay fan. I find the majority of his movies to be offensive to the senses, but this movie was quite entertaining. The fact that these self-absorbed idiots thought it would be fine to kidnap and steal from another person and then that they got away with it (for awhile) is mind-blowing to me. I know there has been some criticism that audiences would be too sympathetic to the kidnappers/murderers but I will say that there was no point in this movie where I didn’t think they got exactly what they deserved in the end. Is this movie for everyone? Not really. Did I find it to be a fun outing to the theater though? You bet I did.