Don’t worry, Michael Bay isn’t secretly a great director who’s just been playing a 20-year practical joke on filmgoers.
His latest—action “comedy” Pain & Gain—proves that he truly is the piece of shit you’d imagine.
Even with a “shoestring” budget of $25 million (compared to $195 million for Transformers: Dark of the Moon), a decent true crime story about a group of incompetent Florida bodybuilders who kidnap a wealthy businessman, and a few un-Bay moments that inspire feelings of amusement, it’s still the same affront to humanity with which we’ve become all too acquainted.
First, a disclaimer: I haven’t completely hated every Michael Bay movie. I will watch The Rock front to back multiple times in a month. Some parts of the first Transformers flick were kinda neat.
But just because I like the space program doesn’t mean I think the Nazis who created modern rocketry were super cool dudes.
It turns out that those movies are Bay on his best behavior. When he decides to “let loose,” as he seems to think he’s doing here, that’s when the awfulness begins.
Just imagine a movie full of The Rock’s “We’re going in” montages and Transformers’ “Sup, bitches?” and add a bunch of underused or miscast supporting actors (Ed Harris, Rebel Wilson, Tony Shaloub), and you have Pain & Gain. Then, just for good measure, include at least three unspeakably pervy upskirt shots of one of two women with a speaking part, and a scene where the punchline is,
I shit you not, “Now all we need is a rapist. Any volunteers?”
At first, the movie wins you over by playing like a satire of the people that Bay typically glorifies: dumbasses that actually believe the macho bullshit, and the first 20 minutes gives you hope that maybe they’ll finally be mocked for it. Nope.
IN THEATERS NOW | R