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    "Made" men

    "Made," a cousin of 1996's "Swingers," brings back Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn in a deadpan crime comedy with winning dialogue and great chemistry between the leads.


    In "Swingers" (1996), John Favreau and Vince Vaughn were Mike Peters and Trent Walker, a pair of wannabe actors who wound up as bumbling hipster doofuses in the LA lounge scene. Five years later in "Made", Favreau and Vaughn reunite, this time as Bobby and Ricky, a pair of wannabe boxers who wind up as bumbling mob heavies in the NY organized crime scene.

    Written and directed by: Jon Favreau.
    Cast: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Famke Janssen, Peter Falk, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Faizon Love, David O'Hara, Jenteal.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    Made isn't exactly a sequel to "Swingers" (director Doug Liman is gone, for one thing), but it bears favorable comparisons. Favreau is back as writer and co-star, and this time he's plopped himself down behind the camera also, as director. It's a tall order — Favreau's only made one TV movie, "Smog," before this — but in many ways "Made" is a better movie than "Swingers." Better written? Certainly (Favreau has matured in this department for sure). Better acted? Yes, I'd say so. And while it's not as quirkily directed as its predecessor, Favreau's confident contributions behind the lens make "Made" a fun, hip, and thoroughly entertaining motion picture.

    With four jobs (including co-producer) to contend with this time around it's no surprise that Favreau's Bobby takes a backseat to the more flamboyant wheelings and dealings of his irritating friend, Ricky. Ricky's the kind of do-nothing / say-everything friend you're embarrassed to have and Vaughn plays him to the hilt — cocky, condescending, always having a line, always over-tipping his hand. It's a terrific performance by Vaughn, one that improves with age.

    Bobby takes Ricky along on a simple errand for Max, a wiseguy who supports Bobby's lapdancer girlfriend (Famke Janssen) and her young daughter Chloe (Makenzie Vega). Max is played by the redoubtable Peter Falk, who manages a couple of good scenes but isn't in the movie very much (he doesn't need to be). The film really focuses on Bobby and Ricky's relationship. Their assignment is seemingly straightforward — go to New York, meet a contact, do a drop, and come home — but goes from bad to worse with the introduction of Max's associate Ruiz (played by Sean "Puffy" Combs) and a Welsh thug who simply goes by the moniker of the Welshman. Oh, and motormouth Ricky's insistence in trying to manage everything and every one around him doesn't help, of course.

    The dialogue is fresh and on the money; at times you'd think Favreau and Vaughn were improvising, it's so breezy and natural. The boys argue constantly, and this is the primary charm of "Made." "Swingers" was more contrived, more eclectic in its way, but in "Made" the characters really hit home. Ricky is an obnoxious know-it-all (or so he thinks) for sure, but so entertainingly so that the picture runneth over every time he's on screen. Favreau's Bobby is more down to earth, the solid, dependable buddy you can count on, but he has his own problems too (like having a stripper for a girlfriend, for instance). In and among Ricky's dumb and dumber shenanigans, however, Bobby also shines. His relationship with Chloe is especially touching — kudos to Favreau for writing two convincing characters, Bobby and Ricky, who are also poles apart.

    "Made" is a deadpan crime comedy in which the rapport between John Favreau and Vince Vaughn (and how, especially, they understand each other as actors) makes for a winning combination.

    SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

    Reader comments on Made:

  • Made   from Gerry, Dec 22, 2001
  • Lifestyle   from Cardiff Giant, Aug 14, 2002
  • Made   from Nick, Mar 15, 2005

  • Post a comment on "Made"