Made Movie Review
When Bobby gets kicked off his L.A. construction job, he pleads with minor crime boss Max (Peter Falk) to give him something better to do than smooth concrete and fistfight his buddies. And so the hijinks begin... as Bobby and Ricky head for New York in an unspecified role as heavies for some deal of Max's.
A fiercely independent production courtesy of aspiring auteur Jon Favreau, Made is a vague follow-up to Swingers, the acclaimed comedy written and starring Favreau and fellow Made man Vaughn. In fact, Made reunites several Favreau friends, including his Love & Sex costar Famke Janssen, as his stripper girlfriend. Never mind the celeb status: It's a miracle that Sean "Puffy" Combs got a role here, considering he didn't know Favreau beforehand.
Out of the picture is director Doug Liman (who did Swingers and Go), which is something of a loss. Favreau is better in front of the lens and behind a typewriter instead of wielding the camera. He runs around with a nauseating handheld half the time, framing shots badly and jerking the rig about as he searches for the right shot.
Favreau's script, however, is predictably great, full of droll wit and zingers that reduce costar Vaughn from the hip daddy-o in Swingers to a mentally defective scalawag. His brash character is loathsome, but Made is completely Vaughn's movie. Ricky is that obnoxious and unfortunate friend you got stuck with growing up, the kind of guy who screwed up everything... and somehow talked you into going along with it. Whether he's insisting they buy guns for their upcoming "drop" or repeatedly ringing his flight attendant button (in a scene that recalls Favreau's answering machine travails in Swingers), he simply gets on your every nerve. And it's unilaterally hysterical.
On the other hand, a misplaced supporting character can severely mess up a movie, and Combs (here in his first real film role) is the poster child for exactly that. "Puffy" is not only a joke of an actor, he's a joke -- period. Casting him as some kind of New York drug kingpin is ridiculous, and while his appearance here is obviously tongue-in-cheek, it's still a nuisance to have to watch him "act."
Never mind that, though -- he only has 10 minutes of screen time. Anyone enamored with the unique and hip sensibility of Swingers will find Made almost as much fun. It's not a sequel, mind you, and it's lacking the nuanced and compelling supporting characters that made Swingers so memorable, but for grown-up comedy, you won't find better this summer.
Lots of extras on the Made DVD (which you'll also find packaged with Swingers in a great two-disc collection), including tons of outtakes and deleted scenes. But wait, there's more, including documentaries, production notes, trailers, and an "action telestrator illustrated commentary," in which Favreau and Vaughn not only provide a voice over, but draw on the screen "John Madden-style" to point out specifically what they're talking about. Interesting, but it does amount to a lot of scribbling. Still, it's money, baby, money!
When Favreau met Famke.