Directed by Jon Favreau
(Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Famke
Janssen, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs)
Let’s play a round of “Name That Movie.” What film stars Jon Favreau as an overly cautious protagonist who would succeed in life if it weren’t for the constant advice of his best friend, played by Vince Vaughn? Swingers, right? Well, what if I went on to say the film also features a cameo by Dustin Diamond (Saved By the Bell’s Screech), the film debut of rapper/actor P. Diddy and the complete absence of slang such as “money” or “baby”?
The answer is Made, the newest Favreau/Vaughn comedy. Made is the latest in the recently popular gangster-film-with-a-funny-bone genre, following in the footsteps of such films – unimpressive as they may be – as Mickey Blue Eyes and The Crew.
Unlike these slapdash exercises in futility, which simply sought to cash in on the post-Sopranos craving for all things Mob related, Made is a comedically intelligent film. Favreau’s directorial debut, Made offers a look at organized crime from the perspective of two ordinary guys, neither of whom are as cloying as Hugh Grant.
Bobby (Favreau) and Ricky (Vaughn) are lifelong best friends who find themselves out of work when their construction gig falls through. The two agree to do a job for Max (Peter Falk), a crime boss who manages Bobby’s stripper girlfriend Jessica (Famke Janssen). The job carries the duo to New York, where Ricky’s belligerent personality clashes with their contact Ruiz (Sean Combs) and threatens to land the pair on the wrong side of the mob.
Unfortunately, Favreau’s ending to the film is forced and feels tacked on. In addition, the character-driven humor won’t appeal to everyone, and much like Swingers, will polarize the audience into those who get it, and those who don’t. But these weaknesses are outweighed by the strength of the actor’s improvisational style and realistic repartee.
If you’re expecting Made to be the sequel to Swingers, you’ll be disappointed. While Favreau and Vaughn reprise the spirit of their roles from the first film, the script is written more realistically. Vaughn’s brash forwardness that scored digits from the beautiful babies in Swingers more often than not results in a black eye in Made.
Made opens today at the Uptown Theatre.