Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 42
  2. Negative: 10 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 25, 2013
    Pain & Gain, a jokey but fatally tone-deaf true-crime caper, plays like “Fargo” for idiots.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 25, 2013
    It's Bay World. And after an hour of Pain & Gain, it felt more like "Pain & Pain."
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Apr 25, 2013
    Bay seems to have been gunning for something along the lines of "Blood Simple" or "A Simple Plan," but Pain & Gain is just plain simple.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 2, 2013
    In between scenes of the muscleheads torturing their victim, Bay indulges his taste for treating women as sluts and grisly brutality as a nifty excuse for a cheap laugh. Pain and Gain is personal all right. You leave these characters with the distinct impression that they're Bay's kind of people.
  5. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Apr 24, 2013
    Any pretensions of satire, moral ambiguity, or social commentary get lost in a hurricane of empty, mindless spectacle.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Apr 22, 2013
    The story is told in a hammer-on-anvil manner that evinces no gift for social satire or sharp cultural insight.
  7. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Apr 24, 2013
    Pain & Gain fails at being an entertaining and ridiculously fun Michael Bay movie and curdles into something much more tone deaf and obnoxious.
  8. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Apr 28, 2013
    It would be kind to call this satire; what it comes off as is a pummeling, testosterone-fueled sensory assault that the film then makes minor variations on for two very long hours.
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 25, 2013
    Michael Bay's absurdist comedy is all pain, no gain and an utter monstrosity. It may be the most unpleasant movie I've ever seen, and I'm not forgetting "Freaks," which Pain & Gain resembles, come to think of it.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Apr 25, 2013
    The whole thing is played for laughs that almost never come. To be sure, the film has its moments, but they’re few and far between.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 221 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 57
  2. Negative: 9 out of 57
  1. Apr 28, 2013
    Pain in Gain is what I consider to be the beginning of the big dumb summer films. While it is not as action pact or EXPLOSIVE as other summer films as well as other Michael Bay films, it is certainly one of the most crazy films I've seen in a while. It sounds like the dumbest plot ever until you are reminded that the story being told is based on actual events. The film is great for what it is and considering other Michael Bay films, this is definitely one of his better ones. Michael Bays "style" works well with this story and all the acting is good. Marky Mark does a fine job but the star in my opinion is Dwayne Johnson who is a riot. Besides a few dumb moments and some pacing issues I think this movie is extremely entertaining and funny. It's a shame it's not getting as much praise at it deserves because Michael Bays name is on it but overall, it is worth a watch. Full Review »
  2. Apr 28, 2013
    Pain & Gain is what it looks like when Michael Bay decides he wants to make a little movie, as opposed to another action epic. The director known for making bombastic action blockbusters has taken a step back to make a smaller film based on a true story, but it does not mean he put his signature style in check. Pain & Gain is very glossy film, gorgeous at times, and certainly not subtle. It is also an incredibly dark comedy, with a story so ridiculous that it has to be true, and it is. Based on a true crime story, this film does its best to depict what happens when seemingly good-natured crooks get in way over their heads and resort to drastic measures to achieve their American dream. While Bay's style can be grating for some, the mix of a strong cast and a messy, but compelling story makes this a film with a lot more going on than the standard Bay blockbuster. You want to be the same as they? make the dream a reality!
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 14, 2013
    Not my usual genre of film, but this particular one deserves a higher score simply because it is based on a true story. You cringe, you laugh, and you cringe again. It left me in complete horror and disgust in a good way, if that makes sense. The acting was very convincing and really gave you a good perspective on the crime itself. Full Review »