In order to help underwrite their addiction to steroids and dumbbells (and also to impress the bitches), a trio of meathead bodybuilders resorts to a life of crime by kidnapping an unscrupulous Florida businessman (Tony Shalhoub, in a role originally meant for Albert Brooks). Oy, Bay! The Butcher of Burbank returns, this time with one pound of script in a 20 lb. casing and a refrigerated display case fit to bust with shoulder cut of Mark Wahlberg, prime rib of Anthony Mackie, and filet of Rock.
Pain & Gain
The film started out as toy salesman Michael Bay’s dream undertaking, a low-budget “change of pace,” as he tagged it. But the easy lure of Transformers money kept the project firmly positioned on the back burner. Until now. Priced at just over $20 million, Pain and Gain presented Bay with a budget the likes of which he hadn’t encountered since the salad days of Bad Boys. Do not for one moment think that material circumstances helped to spark creativity. Not this Bay of pigs. It’s all flash and no panache as Bay borrows heavily from the Miami Vice playbook of swish-pans, flash frames, and singed color.
Even with a fact-based account to guide them — the film is based on a series of Miami New Times articles — Bay and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely still can’t fashion a cohesive narrative. Characters that we are led to believe will have more of an impact on the outcome (Ken Jeong plays a motivational speaker who attracts Marky Mark’s attention) are dismissed almost as quickly as they’re unveiled. The same scenarists were responsible for adapting C.S. Lewis’s Narnia trilogy. Given the glut of Christian-bashing (Dwayne Johnson’s character is a born-again ex-con), rape jokes, snickering homophobic asides, and overall objectification of what few female characters there are, these boys apparently couldn’t wait to make up for lost time. With Ed Harris, trying his damnedest, Rob Corrdry, Michael Rispoli, and, rounding out the beefy menu, lamb chop Bar Paly.