I sincerely believe that one day Michael Bay will make a masterpiece. To-date I still believe that The Rock is his best film. I know that Bad Boys 2 has lots of fans, but for me it grows too long and unwieldy for its own good. The Rock works because it has smart script, talented cast and a manageable budget.
On hearing the news that Bay was taking a break from his ongoing Transformers odyssey to make a “smaller” action comedy, based on a script by Stephen McFeely, I was momentarily encouraged that perhaps this might prove to be Bay’s moment. He has always – even in his worst movies – assembled fantastic casts of excellent character actors, and Pain & Gain proved no exception. The very notion of Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie playing a trio of airheaded personal trainers who decide to rob one of their affluent clients (Tony Shaloub), seemed the perfect opportunity to be smarter, slicker and most importantly smaller than Bay had managed in decades.
Sadly, what begins as a stylish, funny crime caper quickly devolves into a repetitive, wearisome and offensive mess that only serves to underscore how unaware Bay is of his own lecherous vapidity and superficial talents.