Swanner: Three body builders kidnap, extort money and property from a Florida millionaire to a horrible outcome. This is a comedy? The horrible outcome is both in the movie and the movie itself. Director Michael Bay proves that he should stick to the Transformer franchise and keep his hands off “comedies”. Maybe he thought that because comedians Kevin Dunn and Julie White could add funny to a robot movie meant he can pull funny out of this titanic turd. He can’t and he didn’t.
Judd: Pain & Gain is Bay’s attempt to stretch his legs, but only proves how unskilled he is as a director. Bay is very good at making soulless, summer fluff which can be enjoyed for what it is and going in, I was little excited to see something different from him. Here, he attempts to create a Coen Brother’s bumbling character piece with Guy Ritchie pacing, editing and title effects and just enough hallmark Michael Bay, to create a truly ungodly abomination.
Swanner: With a cast of Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris and Rob Corddry you’d think you had a sure thing but we do have the Michael Bay factor. I’m not a fan of the Guy Ritchie movies but at least they’re well made. The only thing exciting about this project is Bay brought it in under $25 million dollars…how can he work on such a tiny budget? The script by Christopher Markus (Narnia) and Stephen McFeely (Captain America) is actually based on a three piece magazine article by Pete Collins from the Miami New Times.
Judd: I actually feel bad for Johnson. Johnson gave one of his best performances to date as Paul Doyle, a fictional character made for the movie that starts out as a sympathetic bad guy then swings way to the other side of the spectrum as a coked out thug. His character could have been richer in the hands of a capable director, but Bay is only interested in the superficial. He never reads into the lines; he never tries to give his characters personality like Ritchie or the Coens. Bay’s whole style revolves around rote camera shots and editing tricks. He’s like a chef that thinks as long as the dish contains garlic, butter and cheese rest of the ingredients are inconsequential. He’s Guy Fieri.
Swanner: Personally I don’t know how I made it through the movie. It just went on forever. I did feel bad for all the performers. It was a good cast and they did fine for what they were handed but with a weak script and bad direction it just never came together. Michael Bay was apologizing for Armageddon this week when he should have been apologizing for this mess. Unfortunately this crap will make money because you have two bankable stars — but he won’t be getting two stars from me…not even one.
Judd: I haven’t wanted to walk out on a movie in a long time. I was done at around the hour mark and knew being a Michael Bay movie that I had at least another hour to go. It was grueling. I think it’s important to remember that I went in rooting for Bay to succeed at something different. Making a bad movie is forgivable, hello Ebert’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. What is unforgivable is that Bay created an artless rip-off of styles perfected by filmmakers infinitely more talented than him.