Marrieds at the Movies: Why 'Pain and Gain' Is Like a Really, Really Long Doritos Commercial

Marrieds at the Movies: Why 'Pain and Gain' Is Like a Really, Really Long Doritos Commercial

Every Friday night, sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.

Pain and Gain

Synopsis: All Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) wants is the American Dream. To get it, he kidnaps and tortures a Miami businessman (Tony Shalhoub) with the help of his bumbling bodybuilding buddies (Anthony Mackie, The Rock). It’s an action/comedy based on the true story.

Was This a Good Date Movie?

Joe: Well, it’s an action/comedy about real life murders that probably weren’t funny at the time. Plus, there’s a lot of talk about impotence. Plus, Rebel Wilson gets a lot of screen time, which probably doesn’t help with the impotence. This is not a sexy date movie – it’s sad and depressing.

Sarah: You know when you go to a gross boardwalk by the beach and it’s, like, 90 degrees and you eat a hot dog or fried dough and then you feel kind of bloated and greasy and regretful? That’s what I felt like at the end of this movie. So…no, I don’t think it was a good date movie.

Joe: That sounds delicious.


How Does Michael Bay Handle a "Smaller" Movie?

Sarah: Bay seems to want to make a movie about class struggle and the American dream. But he treats this humble tale with super-saturated colors, an aggressive soundtrack, and useless graphics that give the whole thing the vibe of a Doritos commercial. A really…really long Doritos commercial.

Joe: Now I’m starving. The actual story reported by Pete Collins in the Miami New Times has everything, everything, you need for a suspenseful thriller, but Bay gutted it and filled it with explosions and the occasional MTV graphic. I can’t understand why.


What Drove You Nuts?

Sarah: The events are fascinating; the criminals are not. The humor stems from watching Danny Lugo and his crew make boneheaded decisions and then carry them out, which involves lots of yelling, fighting, and brainstorming. They’re dumb! We get it. So why do we want to listen to them for two hours?

Joe: Right. This is being sold as a hilarious true tale of bumbling criminals, but it stops being funny when people end up dead.

Sarah: I’m not sure if this was meant to play as dark humor but it came off more as an insult to the victims.

Joe: What drives me nuts is that almost every review says the movie gets the details right.  But the movie doesn’t get the spirit right at all. The real-life bodybuilders started a criminal enterprise that targeted innocent people for kidnapping, torture, and murder. Does that sound like an action/comedy to you? A musical?


What Will You Be Thinking About Tomorrow?

Sarah: Why would you take a story like this and put the drama where it’s not? The real story is about the failure of the Miami PD to stop these guys before innocent people were killed.

Joe: Yeah, I thought the movie could have been more powerful if they had made Kershaw or Ed Harris’s Du Bois the main character.

Sarah: And spared us the one-note comic relief provided by the Rock? He’s Big! But he’s Nice! Also, he’s Christian! Until he gets near coke, then he’s a Gremlin!

Joe: I’m laughing already. Let’s just hope Michael Bay doesn’t find the story of my death hilarious.



Sarah: This is an assault on the senses, like most Bay movies. Skip it.

Joe: Skip it. If you want the same effect, have someone run over your best friend (hilariously), Michael Bay-style.


Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.


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