So, I guess Pain & Gain is Michael Bay’s one for him, after doing the Transformers movies all these years. He wanted to do a smaller film, and compared to his others it is, but it definitely still feels like a Michael Bay film. Sure, there might not be as many explosions, but you still get your share of exploitation, women in skimpy clothes, women naked, fast cars, drugs and chase scenes. It’s not to say that that automatically makes the movie bad, but saying this is a completely off the beaten path for Bay is just not true.
It’s obvious what kind of story Bay is telling. One that Americans like to beat over the heads of everybody even though the concept of it nowadays is dead and buried, no matter if they’d like to admit it or not. I’m talking about the American Dream, that great idea that everybody wants to be a great American. The land of opportunity! Home of the free! Everybody wants to be rich and successful, but, hey, wouldn’t you know there’s always the threat around each corner of everything tumbling down around you.
Heightened every so much more when you’re dealing with three dumb bodybuilders who couldn’t even fill out the paperwork to buy a house, let alone rob one. So, basically Michael Bay gets to tell his American Dream story about how great everything is, his “serious” message, under the guise of old Bay haunts of action, loud noises, exploitation and just a general sense of brash. Some of it works, actually a great deal more than I expected, especially the first act of the film which sets up nicely the characters and the direction they head in so far over their heads. Where it falls apart is the latter events of the film, where it falls back into ridiculousness and attempts to be a comedy of outrageousness over anything else.