Never say never... I hate Michael Bay with all my heart but I have to say I loved this movie. It is one of those films that's sooo bad it's actually good. This has cult film written all over the place.
I know this has been said before but I truly never thought I'd like a Michael Bay movie as much as this. If only Bay were to make more self-aware films such as this one instead of that fucking Transformers shit. But yeah, this was awesome with an insane true story, over the top style (over the top even for Bay!), really fun performances (especially from The Rock) and a fantastic sense of satire. Better than expected!
The concept is good, but I'd buy this more as a satire of the American dream if it didn't feel so much like Michael Bay was leering, heckling the overweight characters, trying to decide which extra he wants to hit on, and then congratulating himself for making the year's least subtle political statement. In short, a lack of reflection. "Vulgar Auteurism" is one thing; "crass auteurism" is something else. 2.5 stars.
I am *very* interested in this film now. Even as someone who wanted to gouge his eyes out during Transformers 2, if Michael Bay can suddenly put a perfect hand onto the table and carpet bomb his detractors it would be brilliant. If I can see it in a theatre and it proves to be good, then it'll be one of the most memorable parts of 2013 even if the film has flaws.
As close as Michael Bay has ever come to an intellectual film, PAIN & GAIN distills the phony ideals of masculinity and excess often celebrated in Bay's films to tell an absurd true story about a group of body builders whose American Dream comes from stealing from rich jerks. A self reflexive commentary, gleefully over the top and occasionally off-putting, it is still Bay's most refreshingly self aware work.
Michael Bay may be an Idiot, an infantile asshole or whatever, but with Pain & Gain he has proven to be one helluva self-aware asshole. It's probably better to go into the film with all the bias one has of the guy, because in this film he finally shows that he can transform (pun intended) his formal excesses into an advantage that perfectly mirrors the nature of his narrative.
Okay, the only exception to the "everything Michael Bay does is shit" rule! Savage, brilliant, grotesque. What it lacks in suspense makes up for its ballsy delivery. The American dream is shot through a cannon and given some rad muscles. Out of all the performances, the rock's had the most surprise and merit. Even though this dudes were pathetic and just ugly human beings, I kinda still liked them in the end.
A director who trades primarily in moronic celebrations of jerkoff masculinity, dramatizing a true story that lays bare the darkest side of masculine violence and superiority. If Bay pulls this off, it might be a masterpiece.