“Pain & Gain”

I had heard this was a very funny movie and expected see a comedy, but it is really more a true crime drama.

Manipulative con artist body builder/personal trainer Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) had already served time in prison and had a record for swindling when he pitched to a gym owner that he would triple their membership if given the opportunity, which he is given and accomplishes.

Perhaps if he had not become envious of an abrasive successful business owner Victor Kershaw (Tony Shaloub) and decides he wants what Kershaw has and gets two of his body building buddies (played by Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) help for kidnap and get Kershaw to sign over all of his assets then attempt to kill him who loses everything and the cops won’t even believe him.  He contact a private eye/former cop Ed DuBois (Ed Harris) out of an old phone book who turns out to be retired and initially turns it down, but does start investigating and finds what Kershaw has been saying is true.

Wahlberg captured the charisma that it would have took to bend so many people to his will, Johnson as the dumb but almost likable guy that tried to be a Christian after getting out of prison.  The standout was Shaloub as the crude rude business owner as he is best known for “Monk” where he plays an obsessive compulsive neat freak.

I have to admit this movie was hard to sit through, especially knowing it was based on a true story.   If Lugo had put half of the effort into working hard as he did to rip people off, he had the chance to be successful over time,  but because he is impatient and envious his actions not only destroy his life and that of those around him, it ends up  end up ending two.

The queasiest part for me, and where director Michael Bay reminds you this is a true story, is Johnson’s character burning a hand on a grill outside a building then waiving to the people across the street like it was nothing

The only encouraging part of the movie in a God works in mysterious ways, is Kershaw picking out Dubois’s name out of an old phone book , and even though retired, something made him decide to investigate the case.  Had he not, Lugo and his friends might have gotten away with it and harmed more people.




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