Works based on real events usually work very well in cinemas. When they have a peculiar story, with drama and a hint of humor, the chances of success are much greater. No pain no gain (Pain and Gain) has it all, based on a real story of 3 bodybuilders who are in search of the American dream, the film manages to narrate the facts balancing the drama and the humor.
The plot features Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), one personal trainer successful, but you want more for your life. In the gym where he works he knows Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a millionaire, but also a criminal. Tired of being humiliated by all the students and feeling like a failure, he decides to follow the “American dream” of getting along and devise a plan, calling his friends, also pumped, Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and the ex-convict Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson). Their plan was to kidnap the businessman Victor and get Victor to sign a document that passes his goods on to them, but something goes wrong and they don't get the ransom money, so they steal it and try to kill him several times, without success, starting a cycle of bizarre and a lot of stupidity.
The script, by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, was adapted from a report published in the Miami New Times newspaper in 1998 about a gang of assailants who make absurd mistakes. In the film the team was reduced to just three, but it works. It is impressive to see the amount of stupid mistakes that the trio makes, even leaving the question of how far it is true and the exaggeration of the plot. Either way, the feature represents the “Johnny Bravo” stereotype and hits the mark when investing in the comic.
The direction of Michael Bay, the so controversial director who divides opinions, proves to be indispensable to give the necessary tone to the feature. The characters plan their moves based on movie classics, such as Rocky and Scarface, believing faithfully that they can trust the stories told by their idols as if they were real. To reinforce this argument, at times the camera catches movie posters or some reference on the scene.
Of course, without the great performance of this trio, the feature would be nothing. Wahlberg, Mark and Johnson excel at representing these almost mindless figures, providing really funny scenes. However, the most shocking part is the post-credit scenes, which show the actual images and reports and the sentences of each one, proving that much of what seemed absurd, actually happened.
No pain no gain tells, with quality, a really different story. Knowing how to use humor, without losing the dramatic load, the feature captures and entertains without difficulty.
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