Made Movie Review

"Swingers" lounge lizards Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn are reunited in "Made" as a pair of feckless part-time boxers who try to make something of themselves by becoming inept bagmen for the mafia.

Another sardonic -- but more cinematically mature -- comedy written by Favreau (who also directed this time), the flick features Fav as Bobby, a hapless amateur of a pug who just wants to do right by his stripper girlfriend (Famke Janssen) and her angelic little daughter.

A downhearted but upright palooka, Bobby gets kicked off his "day" job as driver for his girlfriend's tease gigs when he punches out a grabby guest at a bachelor party. But his boss, a cranky back-room operator played with comedic panache by Peter Falk, gives him a chance to make up for it by going to New York to do a money drop for a high-rolling uptown gangster called Ruiz (hip-hop mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs).

Trying to be a good pal, Bobby talks the boss into hiring his deadbeat best friend Ricky (Vaughn) for the job as well -- a bad idea that snowballs into the picture's acidicly funny plot.

Ricky is a crude, obnoxious schmuck version of Vaughn's "you're so money!" persona from "Swingers." He thinks he's slick and so smooth, but he completely fails to recognize that his clueless cocky routine gets on the last nerve of everyone he comes in contact with, from the stewardesses on their first-class flight to the gangsters he tries to roll with as if he were a made guy once they hit Manhattan.

The on-call limo driver (Vincent Pastore from "The Sopranos"), who is their guide to the New York underworld, can't stand Ricky. The sycophant bellhop at their upscale hotel (Sam Rockwell in an uncredited role) grins and bears his pompous, sham-riche posturing (along with the stupid questions that give him away as a uncouth clod). Ricky's so convinced he's on his way to being a crime syndicate player that he starts acting like a big shot and throwing around gangland slang he's seen in the movies. Even tolerant but impatient Bobby quickly regrets bringing him along and gets sick of trying to convince him that they don't need to be "strapped" to drop off a bag of money for Ruiz.

More importantly, Ruiz doesn't trust this putz, which puts the job in jeopardy, and Bobby and Ricky's lives along with it.

Vaughn holds nothing back in a deliberately irritating performance which is so funny, yet so pungent that you'll spend the first half the movie thinking Ricky is going to get popped and the second half of the movie hoping he will. The fact that it's entertaining to hate this smarmy self-important imbecile is a testament to both Vaughn's acting and Favreau's writing and directing.

The same quarrelsome Favreau-Vaughn chemistry that made "Swingers" tick also beats at the heart of "Made," but it's amped up. Bobby and Ricky fight like 8-year-olds even when they're in the ring together. The opening scene is their first time facing each other as boxers. Hesitant, they land only powder puffs punches until one of them mocks the other and the match turns into a hilariously dirty, immature scuffle while spectator hiss and holler "you suck!" The rest of the movie they bear the bruises of this infantile bout.

"Made" is not as memorable, quotable or mirth-provoking as "Swingers." It's not that kind of cultural snapshot or that kind of comical therapy session. But Favreau taps into that same boys-will-be-boys atmosphere with equal success, a tad more cynicism, and in the end, surprisingly honest soul.


Comments

Made Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, Opened: Friday, July 27, 2001

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