26 August 2014

CK Movie Challenge: Review of the film I hate the most: Pain and Gain

So I've decided to take part in the Cinematic Katzenjammer Movie Challenge and the first thing I've decided to do for it is to review the film I hate the most and there is only really one candidate for it. Sure there are films like Batman and Robin, Twilight, You Got Served and The Waterboy that I hate but the film I'm reviewing is the only one where I was repulsed watching it. It is a film that has no artistic merit and should not be seen by anyone. That film is Michael Bay's Pain and Gain.
The plot is about a group of muscle bound idiots who decide to kidnap a wealthy member of the gym they all work out at and force him to sign over all of his money to them. After they pretty much waste all the money they try the scheme again and end up killing the people they want to get money from. Along with this, the first guy they stole money from has hired a private detective to find the people who stole his money. Throughout the film, Michael Bay wants to make satirical points about the nature of American consumerism and how the attitudes the perpetrators have towards anyone they meet is not acceptable. However, this comes across as really hypocritical from Bay considering that the majority of his films seem to perpetuate and even celebrate the racial and sexual stereotypes that he is condemning here. There is also the problem with the overall satire in the film. In order for satire to work it needs to both make a point and be funny (look at stuff like In The Loop, The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight and Four Lions) but here, Bay has the point he wants to make but he cannot tell a joke to save his life. There wasn't a single point in the film that I found funny and it isn't because of the subject matter. The events of the film are based on real events but this doesn't mean that humour cannot be found, in fact I can prove that a good dark comedy can be made about real life murders, it was called Bernie and it was brilliant. There is also the issue of sympathy that you feel for the characters. Throughout the film, Bay tries to present these characters as people you're meant to hate but two of the characters, Paul Doyle and Adrian Doorbal, are presented in a sympathetic light throughout the film which means that all the points where Bay tries to condemn the actions of these people comes across as false since the film tries to make you sympathise with the characters as well, which comes across as really forced. There's also issues with the character of Victor Kershaw, the first person the main characters steal from, in that the film constantly presents him as a slimy, hateful person who deserves all the stuff that happens to him, but at the end they try to make the point that he represents the ideal the characters want, starting from the bottom and working his way up, but they way the film presents Kershaw seems to bring across the point that anyone who does that will turn into such a hateful person that he won't be believed after turning up in hospital with injuries that were obviously inflicted by other people after being missing for months. Then there is the representation of the other victims, again as really sleazy and hateful but the real people were nothing like how they were presented in the film, which is incredibly insulting to the family of the victims.

The cast meanwhile are pretty bad. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie feel lost in these parts, not knowing whether or not they are playing good people or bad people, I've already mentioned that Johnson and Mackie are presented sympathetically whilst Wahlberg, at points, goes into sincere mode which feels really misguided considering the events of the film. The only thing that works about their performances is that they portray the stupidity of the characters quite well. Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong and Rebel Wilson meanwhile are incredibly annoying throughout the film with Corddry coming across as really sexist throughout the film and the condemnation of the character feels hypocritical considering how Bay has directed Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whitely in the Transformers films whilst Jeong, whilst not being as annoying here as he is in The Hangover films, is still annoying and his attempts at being a self help guru feel really false and make you wonder why anyone would choose to accept his advice. Tony Shaloub meanwhile portrays the sleazy nature of the character really well but at the end of the film, when we are meant to sympathise with him, he still feels sleazy making all of it feel false. The only good performance in the film comes from Ed Harris whose utter contempt for everything that is going on throughout the film is the only thing that feels genuine.

The technical side of the film is also terrible. Bay's direction is absolutely atrocious with poorly framed shots, scenes where I couldn't see what was going on, a terribly garish colour pallet and slow motion shots that make the whole thing feel really ugly. The worst of it though comes through Bay's direction of the death scenes where he seems to take sort of a sadistic glee in directing all of the horrible things that happen to the characters, with his direction of the female victims being especially disgusting, seeming to make fun of these people as they die.

Pain and Gain is an absolute abomination against cinema. It is an ugly, repugnant film that makes fun of people who died and sympathises the murderers with Bay's horrible direction showing off everything that is wrong with modern cinema with the only person seeming to make an effort being Ed Harris and I just felt sorry that he was in this garbage. This is without a doubt the worst film I have ever seen and ever will see and, after both this and his comments towards audiences regarding Transformers: Age of Extinction, I will make a vow right here. I will never see or comment on any film with Michael Bay's name on it. He has proved time and time again that he is a terrible director with no respect for his audience and I don't feel comfortable promoting anything with his name on it. Anyone who can make a film as vile as Pain and Gain does not deserve to be mentioned and as long as I am running this blog that is exactly what I will do. I am not going to give this film a rating because I doesn't deserve one and I hope that no-one else ever has to watch this vile, disgusting film. 


  1. Thanks for participating! Unfortunately, we very much disagree on Pain & Gain. It was actually one of my favorite movies from last year and I've seen it a few times. Your points make a lot of sense, but I think that's why I love it. The directing is messy, but its so 90s (when the film is set) and the characters actions are inexplicable evil, but based in reality. It's just a crazy god time..

    1. Yeah, it does feel like an exploitation film and I understand why people who like exploitation films like this, no-one will ever convince me that this isn't a piece of worthless trash but you're inclined to like it. For me, with the direction, it felt less like a bad 90's film and more like a bad 70's Grindhouse film