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Article posted: 4/25/2013 6:00 AM

Michael Bay's latest all 'Pain,' no 'Gain'

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Anthony Mackie, left, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson perform an action-movie cliché as three bodybuilders trying to steal the American dream in Michael Bay's "Pain & Gain."

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Had the Coen brothers or Quentin Tarantino directed "Pain & Gain," it would have a wildly violent, acidically comic deconstruction of the American dream as interpreted by three weightlifters who stretch every muscle in their bodies but the ones in their heads. Michael Bay's sledgehammered direction makes the violence brutal and ugly, and kills whatever empathy we might have for characters.
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