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Nerdlocker Movie Review: Pain & Gain

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I really have mixed feelings about this one. There were moments that I was entertained and engaged in the story and others times where it was just boring, stupid and way too random to enjoy it. If the structure of this film were to be transformed into the structure of a building it would fall almost immediately. The support beams would crumple under the weight of their own stupidity and it all would come crashing down. The positive aspects of this film would keep some but not all the people in the building alive, scraped up but alive. The rest would have a closed casket at their funerals.

*****WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD******

Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) believes in fitness, just ask him. As an ex-con fresh out of jail from extorting old people in Florida, he is looking for that second chance he thinks every American is entitled to. After getting a job as a fitness trainer at a dying gym, he turns the place around and more than triples the membership numbers. Soon enough “cutting” the fat off of people is no longer satisfying his yearning for the true American Dream. Daniel is a body builder, not a thinker, although he thinks he is which is where the problem begins. After a member comes through named Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), Daniel almost instantly comes to the conclusion that he has to rob this guy. Kershaw is a prick and also very, very rich. But don’t worry, Daniel has seen a lot of movies and he knows what he’s doing, just ask him.

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When someone pitches you a highly illegal idea and their inspiration and “knowledge” is a bunch of movies they saw, I am thinking you should just walk away, maybe run. I mean if it’s illegal then don’t do it regardless, I have to say that just to cover my bases. Can’t have people thinking Nerdlocker supports crime.

Daniel, as ambitious as he may be, knows he can’t do this alone so he employs the help of his best friend Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and his newly acquainted weight lifter, Jesus Saves, just out of prison friend known as Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson). Three body builders and not an intelligent thinker among them, hell someone who can do nothing more than tell their right from left might be a vast improvement for these guys. Daniel swears that no one will get hurt and with everyone oddly enough not backing out he lays out the plan. They will kidnap Kershaw and hold him hostage until he signs over his money and assets over to Daniel, Adrian and Paul. This is easier said than done as it is in most movies. They can’t even kidnap this guy right, nearly failing three times they finally nab him with a Taser to the temple. This guy is no stranger to being treated rough and so convincing Kershaw takes a lot longer than they anticipated. Eventually he cracks and they get his signature along with his house and money.

Having recognized Daniel, the three know what must be done to Kershaw in order to stay out of jail. First they try to push down the throttle of a car with Kershaw in it forcing him to crash. They run to the aftermath only to be met with a still moving Kershaw. They then try numerous other attempts to kill him and when they think the deed is done they drive away. They can’t kidnap properly and they can’t kill either. Surviving their onslaught of stupid, Kershaw tells his story to the police but with such an outlandish story no one believes him. Daniel hears that the police aren’t buying the story and so he leaves to tell the other two geniuses they are in the clear. However Kershaw is pissed and swears revenge on Daniel and his accomplices. He hires a retired police officer now Private Detective to obtain evidence against these idiots. The three morons have no idea what is coming.

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Daniel moves into Kershaw’s residence since he is now the legal owner of the house and starts a new life in a very rich neighborhood. Adrian marries a fat woman; he likes ‘em big! They buy a house with his newly attained small fortune and she remains blind to the whole thing. Paul unfortunately doesn’t handle large quantities of cash so well and snorts it all away with cocaine. After realizing very quickly that he is broke and in debt now, Paul approaches Daniel with another half-baked scheme that should surely get them all killed. This plan is even more stupid than the last. What starts out as a mostly successful heist turns far more sinister as Paul’s coked out head starts messing things up. Not to mention Daniel is just stupid and thinks he isn’t. He sees himself as the leader and feels that the three amigos work best when simply “winging” it. In other words they don’t think things through. It’s starting to become a pattern here. Adrian just thinks Daniel knows what he is doing and goes along with whatever.

This time around they plan to rob a porn king of his flesh gained assets. They attempt to rouse this guy and things take a very harsh turn toward murdertown. Things never work out for these guys and yet they keep trying, I guess you’ve got to admire their can-do attitudes. Be a do-er, not a don’t-er as is repeated constantly throughout the movie. In the end this is real life (according to this it’s based on a true story) and in real life things have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass. Sometimes the “American Dream” isn’t worth it.

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This has its funny moments but for the most part it’s all over the place and is ultimately hurt by this. It’s random and really doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. My favorite part of this whole mess is Dwayne Johnson who plays Paul. As a coked out big dummy with a soft heart and lack of brain waves, he makes for some pretty hilarious moments. I also felt they were a little too comfortable with the violence, primarily the murders that take place. They act as if they have done this before and ya know… no big deal it’s just blood. Even though it lacks in many areas it still came out at least as a somewhat entertaining action-comedy,-drama thing that after one viewing you’ve probably seen enough of these characters for a while. I would say see it, but don’t expect too much and prepare for incoherent rambling and storytelling. For me this was a one watch kind of flick. Nothing terrible but nothing great either.

Rated R for: bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout and drug use
Runtime: 130 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub
Directed By: Michael Bay

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 2.5/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 2.5 Nerdskulls


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"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard