One of the better movies of 2013 was directed by Michael Bay and starred a professional wrestler. P & G is a great old fashioned American movie about the American Dream, a kind of modern Howard Hawks piece. Its odd because it doesn't fit into any easy category besides maybe Crime or Biography. But its much more. It would be a satire if it wasn't so real. Bay's film is funny in parts, ghoulish in others and haunting and emotional by the end. People could be turned off by how shallow and unrelenting it is, but that is Bay's intentional style and it hasn't found a better subject than the true story of a gang of kidnappers in mid-90s Miami.
Its full of testosterone, dumbness, amorality and life lessons and it never takes itself too seriously, always diving into the campiest presentation possible, but still alluding to some scary realities about America and the pressures it puts of men who just want to be like the others. Maybe Bay is saying that conformity and collectivism is overrated. The finale certainly left me feeling very content with the little bit I have and a little sympathetic and embarrassed for the materialists, the egotists and the lost causes out there chasing dollars and limelight. Michael Bay critics would never expect this message from one of his films, but they are the same people Bay is satirizing: those who can't see below the surface of his flashy, light cinematic style to recognize true intelligence and value.
I'm very happy to get it and Bay assembles a great team who also get the joke. Some are good already and others have to earn it, but you can't have it given to you. Bay tries to spell out the message here by subverting all the motivational B.S. and giving it to you raw, fast and without mincing words: "No pain, no gain".