Pain & Gain


Mark Wahlberg plays Danny Lugo who, in this company, qualifies as the brains of the outfit. ”I’m fit, therefore I am” is his philosophy. But now he’s turned himself into ”a monument to physical perfection”, he can’t understand why all this hard work isn’t paying off.

Tired of clients who treat their physical trainers like pets, he hatches a plot against one of his wealthiest, Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). His fellow muscleman Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) is then brought in on the deal and they recruit their friend Paul Doyle. He’s the film’s only fictitious character and he’s played by Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson, whose air of wide-eyed amorality is the only remotely amusing thing about any of this. Wahlberg’s Lugo is just obnoxious. Even so, there’s an implicit and unsettling suggestion that we should find something disarming in his inability to see past the neediness of his overbearing ego.

Bay’s shooting style is fancy. There are freeze frames, graphics with a side of super slow-motion. The effect is as over-cooked as some of the flesh on show in the Florida sun. It delivers a few cheap laughs for those who have ever stepped inside a gym, for all those who haven’t, steer well clear.