The Grade Book: “Pain and Gain”

Pain and Gain

Plot: A group of bodybuilders in Florida become caught up in a kidnapping scheme. 

Director: Michael Bay. 

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. 

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, and Ed Harris. 

Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime.

Running Time: 2 hours and 9 minutes.

MPAA Rating: R.




(Lowest Grade Given to the Film: D-, Highest Grade Given to the Film: B)

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Pain and Gain is a bit more grounded than previous Michael Bay works, but its humorous tone (mixed with a serious and true story) and Bay’s flashy, chaotic style nearly kill it.



  • Gabriel Alcantara (Big Gabe):

Grade: D+

Being a shameless Michael Bay fan, I’ve learned to put up with a lot of the crappy elements of his flawed but fun films. If there’s one thing the man can not do right 98% of the time, it’s humor. So when you have a story like Pain and Gain, which revolves around self-centered muscle-bound morons who are willing to kidnap, torture and kill a person if necessary in order to become rich, Bay’s style of humor and over-the-top style of direction makes this film (which is based on a true story) feel very tasteless, mean-spirited, and just plain wrong. There are some amusing moments, it’s not boring, and the cast is great at being despicable, but the film itself is just a mess and too excessive. It simply goes too far. I’d feel the same way if the film wasn’t based on factual events.

  • Ryan Fecskovics:

Grade: C+

One of the weirdest movies that I have seen in a while. The editing in this film makes me want to vomit. This movie is very funny but overall it’s inconsistent. The Rock is really awful in this movie, Anthony Mackie and Rebel Wilson are wasted, and Mark Wahlberg tries really hard but at the end of the day he should be working on a sequel to The Fighter. I would recommend that you save your money and wait for a better movie to arrive. Redbox this one, honestly…

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: D-

Despicable, tasteless, and unfunny. There are too many voice overs from too many awful characters that we can never connect with. It did look like a movie at times, but Mr. Bay can’t keep his focus to get us to care for anything on the screen. I would of rather seen this from another filmmaker or presented in a docudrama or a documentary film.

  • Nick Iacobucci:

Grade: B-

If it wasn’t for the humor by the three leads this film would suffer. However, the direction from Bay fits this ridiculous story like a bloody glove. His style and flair are welcomed in this crime romp, and Pain and Gain is his most grounded, and one of his most entertaining, movies.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: C+

Michael Bay doesn’t change up his directing style for this oddball flick, but his style is accommodating this time around! The intrigue comes from the stupidity of the characters and the story. It’s also one really entertaining piece of work, but it isn’t something worth more than a matinee!

  • Zachary S. Marsh:

Grade: D+

Despite a good performance from Ed Harris, Pain and Gain is a sloppy, stupid, unfunny, and crude dark comedy that makes the audience root for the assholes who we’re not even supposed to be rooting for! The screenwriters for this film should stick to the Narnia and Captain America movies instead of writing hard R movies featuring the doucheiest of characters.

  • Steven Merced (Geeked Out):

Grade: C-
Pain and Gain is a movie that I thought would be a pretty fun and entertaining time at the movie theaters. But upon watching the first 20 minutes, I understood what I was getting was not what I was expecting. What we get is Michael Bay Michael Baying it, and what this means is that it’s poorly edited, has crude and unfunny jokes, a ton of slow motion, and naked woman splattered all over the screen. Now with pretty good funny performances form the three leads you would expect the movie to at least be an okay time, but thanks to the poor directing all we get is a movie that had a ton of potential but never lives up to it.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: D

It’s another typical Michael Bay movie, just based on a true story and with less explosions and DOZENS of hot chicks.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: C+

Michael Bay brings a tragic true story into a comedy film that brings itself to a lot of attention. Not the greatest comedy and at times the film is unsure of itself, but the film brings a few laughs and some good performances. Of course, Bay is depicting a story about innocent people losing their lives as a movie, but aside from the true story aspect the film has its entertaining moments.

  • Brandt Sohn:

Grade: B

An extremely dark comedy from Michael Bay that attempts to turn a tragedy into a series of humorous gags. Fortunately, the characters are never meant for us to sympathize with. They are completely ignorant and dumb with every move they make, and therefore as the audience we are laughing at them, and not with them. Michael Bay’s visual style is all over the production, so if you hate over-saturation of color, slow-motion, and a bit of shaky cam, then you will most likely not enjoy the cinematography. I feel as though it fits the setting and showed off Miami’s heat in a unique way. The humor is very awkward at times, and works in other moments, but overall this film is a bit sloppy — but with moments that will truly shock the audience. Whether it is being offensive or not is for you to decide. I took it as Bay making fun of the criminals, not the victims. Overall, Pain and Gain is not a great film but it is Michael Bay’s best since the first Transformers film, and the most unique movie he has ever made.

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