The manic energy of this documentary mimics that of its controversial subject, but while the film provides some insight into the musician, it still feels overly long and ultimately self-serving. It's the nature of the genre, and Machine Gun Kelly's Life in Pink spends most of its 100 minutes with Colson Baker himself, adding in interviews with people in his circle and most notably his daughter. Fiancée Megan Fox is in a lot of the footage, and we hear her voice at the end, but she isn't interviewed on camera, nor are any other family members. Fans say they find solace in his songs, which he describes as using to work through his own emotional wounds. The story runs from 2019 to 2022, a period marked by the pandemic and a flurry of professional activity from Kells, as his friends call him.
He engenders a lot of criticism for his transition from rap to punk rock, and he takes it hard. Despite his purposefully menacing exterior, he comes across as fragile, and this may well be director Sam Cahill's intention here. When the rocker breaks glasses in hotels or knocks out a friend's front windshield, it's shown as good, celebratory fun. "I'm still young, wasting my youth; I'll grow up next summer," he sings. A tour through his Cleveland neighborhood and some memories of his childhood paint a very tough background. He's up front about his addictions, but even after he says he's had a wake-up call that he needs to leave drugs following a suicide attempt, he still seems to be smoking and drinking all the time in the film. This doesn't diminish his ambition, and the impression the documentary gives is of a musically talented, hardworking man for whom music provides a kind of therapy.