Freely interpreted from real-life events, as reported by journalist Pete Collins, this latest Hollywood version of a “true story” by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely features Mark Wahlberg as a Miami bodybuilder and trainer who dreams of a better life like his heroes, Scarface and Michael Corleone. He enlists fellow workout addict Anthony Mackie and a beefy, soft-headed ex-con played by Dwayne Johnson to be his partners in a scheme to rob one of Wahlberg’s fat-cat clients (Tony Shalhoub) of his considerable wealth. But while these three criminal wannabes have plenty of nerve, they aren’t very bright, so things don’t go according to plan.
At first, it’s entertaining to see how Wahlberg pursues his cockeyed dream. Johnson’s mercurial character adds considerable color to the proceedings, along with Shalhoub, as the kind of victim you can’t feel terribly sorry for, and Rebel Wilson, as a medical aide who becomes attracted to her patient, Mackie.
I have a sinking feeling that Pain & Gain will do very well this weekend, attracting a crowd eager to have some rowdy fun. Some of them may not be as dismayed as I was, but I’m sure many unsuspecting viewers will want to take a shower to cleanse themselves of this movie’s rancid residue.