Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain is an uncomfortable and ill-considered attempt to squeeze laughs out of truly horrific, based on real-life, crimes.
Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie play bodybuilders and ex-cons who decide to get themselves a slice the ‘American Dream’ by robbing suspected crook Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub).
When Kershaw refuses to passively hand over his fortune, the trio torture him. When the torture fails, they try to burn him alive.
Yet instead of showing the barbarity of the men at the centre of his story, Bay tries to turn them into loveable, comic leading men while indulging any morons in the audience with a staple diet of homophobia and sexism.
The women in this film are there just to be oggled at, either laid-out around the pool and gym or relegated to playing strippers.
In one scene where Wahlberg’s con is trying to pass himself off as a respectable member of the community by hosting a neighbourhood watch session, we even get a ‘gag’ about gang rape.
And the torture of Kershaw largely takes place in a warehouse stuffed full of dildos and gay sex toys for no obvious purpose beyond fuelling the film’s homophobia.
There’s nothing edgy, satirical or irreverent about Pain and Gain. It’s just a cheap, nasty, sexist and homophobic yawn-fest.
While Bay fans will contort themselves in all manner of directions to try and excuse and indulge him, the rest of us are under no obligation to do likewise.
Across the UK from August 30th.