'Pain & Gain': Is Everyone In This Movie An A-Hole? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)

04/24/2013 08:51 am ET | Updated Jun 23, 2013

pain and gain review

Director Michael Bay returns this Friday with his first movie since 2005 that does not involve robots that disguise themselves as transportation vehicles. Based on a true story, Pain & Gain stars Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie as gym-rats-turned-kidnappers who find themselves in way over their heads. Here, we answer every question that you could possibly have about Pain & Gain.

Q: Is Pain & Gain a madcap comedy romp?

A: Some of the situations are funny, but Pain & Gain is quite dark. It's certainly the darkest movie that Michael Bay has directed.

Q: Darker than Pearl Harbor?

A: Pearl Harbor is not a dark movie. You're thinking about how you felt about yourself and the human race after spending money to see Pearl Harbor.

Q: If I get queasy watching human beings being chopped up into little pieces, should I see Pain & Gain?

A: Probably not.

Q: Is Pain & Gain really based on a true story?

Q: I'm not going to read that article because this is 2013 and I am not interested in reading anything longer than a picture. Is this movie is about two college buddies turned bounty hunters named Johnny Pain and Frank Gain?

A: Sadly, no.

Q: What is Pain & Gain about?

A: In Pain & Gain, Mark Wahlberg [Rock Star] plays Daniel Lugo, an ex-con and fitness guru living in Miami, Florida. Lugo, for better or worse, harbors some serious aspirations to improve his station in life.

Q: How does Daniel improve his station in life?

A: Daniel has a client at the gym, Victor [Tony Shalhoub], who speaks relentlessly about his fortune.

Q: So Daniel asks Victor for advice on how to achieve his own fortune?

A: No. Daniel recruits Adrian [Mackie] and Paul [Johnson] in an effort to kidnap Victor, and then force him to sign over his entire fortune to the three kidnappers.

Q: Does that work?

A: Strangely (and I'm not giving too much away here), it does work. It's after the three get away with their scheme that things get truly bizarre.

Q: I assume they get away with their scheme because they killed Victor?

A: No, he survives. It's just that no one, including the police, believes what happened to him. So Victor has to hire a private detective (Ed Harris) to prove that these three bozos conned him out of his fortune.

Q: If I get queasy watching a human being have his toe shot off, should I see Pain & Gain?

A: Probably not.

Q: Is Anthony Mackie one of the most underrated actors working today?

A: Yes. But he's getting more and more underrated every day.

Q: Even though it's a smaller story, does Pain & Gain feel like a Michael Bay movie?

A: At $25 million, Bay is working with a considerably lower budget than he's used to. But if you're asking if we ever see some sort of organized authority organization -- be it the police or a military unit - dramatically walking in slow motion, yes, that's in there.

Q: Is Pain & Gain Michael Bay's best movie?

A: No. But it is his most interesting movie.

Q: So Pain & Gain is good?

A: Pain & Gain is a bit of a mess, but, boy, it sure is an interesting mess.

Q: What's the best part of Pain & Gain?

A: Dwayne Johnson, by far.

Q: Why is Johnson so great?

A: Dwayne Johnson, even when playing a bit of an asshole (we'll get to that), is just so charming. At one point, Johnson's character can perform the most heinous act; the next: you kind of just want to give this poor sap a hug.

Q: Is there any movie that Dwayne Johnson is not a part of that's currently in release?

A: As far as I know, Dwayne Johnson is not in Oblivion.

Q: Is the guy who played Kramer in Jerry during "The Pilot" episode of Seinfeld in Pain & Gain?

A: Yes.

Q: What's the biggest problem with Pain & Gain?

A: Obviously, Bay is constrained by what actually happened in real life, but I consider it a problem that everyone in this movie is an asshole.

Q: How is everyone an asshole?

A: Well, Wahlberg and Mackie are playing assholes. Dwayne Johnson is not playing as big of an asshole, but he's still an asshole. Oh, the man that the three kidnap, played by Tony Shalhoub? Yep, you guessed it ... he's an asshole. It's hard to care what happens to anyone in this movie when every single person is an asshole. By the end, you kind of just hope Optimus Prime shows up for no other reason than because he's nice.

Q: Does the humor in the movie at least bring levity to everyone being an asshole?

A: Well, that's another problem. As mentioned earlier, this is a dark movie, and these shocking events happened to real people. There are laughs, but they are deeply uncomfortable ones.

Q: Wait, I'm confused, should I see Pain & Gain?

A: Ultimately, that's between you and your god.

Q: Is that a recommendation?

A: Ultimately, that's between me and my god. But I would love for Bay to keep making movie like Pain & Gain because, even though it's an "interesting mess," it's still ... interesting. And it's just great watching a Michael Bay movie that's not a Transformers movie.

Q: What is Michael Bay's next movie?

A: Transformers 4.

Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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