Movie Review: Made
by Alex Keen
Published: June 29, 2001
USA, 2001 - Artisan Entertainment
Directed by Jon Favreau
Sean 'Puffy' Combs as Ruiz
Jon Favreau as Bobby
Famke Janssen as Jess
Peter Falk as Max
Vince Vaughn as Ricky
Additional information available at the Internet Movie Database.
Ever since “Get Shorty,” Hollywood realized they could get away with joking about organized crime and the mafia. Robert DeNiro starred in “Analyze This” with Billy Crystal, while Hugh Grant butchered a New York accent in “Mickey Blue Eyes.” Adding his voice to the mix, Jon Favreau (writer of “Swingers”), writes, directs, produces, and stars in the upcoming Artisan Entertainment release, “Made.” While the film is great entertainment for the fans of “Swingers,” it may have a difficult time expanding to a wider audience.
“Made” centers around a straight shooting hard worker (Favreau) and his sycophant best friend (Vince Vaughn). The two guys play as a working class “Laurel and Hardy,” with stints of “The Three Stooges” rolled in. As in “Swingers,” these two off-camera friends, have tremendous chemistry when performing together. Unfortunately this chemistry will not mix with anyone else. With the exception of Favreau and Famke Janssen, all the other match-ups fall flat.
While Favreau’s character takes a more mature and responsible position this go-around, Vaughn turns up the bass. I will warn you now, if you hated Vaughn in “Swingers,” avoid “Made.” While the character is not entirely the same, the attitude and delivery are much more exaggerated. If this film does not expand well, the blame can be set entirely on Vaughn’s back. New audiences will have a very difficult time deciding if they like Vaughn’s character, Ricky.
Sean Combs, in his debut, performs well, but never seems to be on the same page as Favreau and especially Vaughn. It’s as if they were in different movies. The other downside to Combs’ performance is his range. Can he play anything more than a money hungry henchman?
Janssen, who starred with Favreau in last year’s indie success “Love and Sex,” is not in the film long. She has great chemistry with Favreau, but her role is so brief, that the emotional impact she is required to give falls like a limp wrist.
Comparisons between the directing in “Made” and “Swingers” are going to be made. Unfortunately for Favreau he is not a better director than Doug Liman. Unfortunate for Liman, Favreau is not a bad director. It seems obvious that Favreau had a tough time deciding if “Made” should be showtime like “Swingers” or gritty like “Fight Club.” Like “Swingers” there are some terrible transition shots mixed in with the spectacular. Hand-helds dominate the film, but don’t distract. As Favreau’s first effort, I would say he climbed the mountain – but has not conquered it.
Overall as a film, it has some problems. It has a very convoluted genre structure. And yet there were maybe ten times I laughed out loud. It was an enjoyable experience, but one that will not reap instant rewards. Like “Swingers,” it may take years before “Made” will really reach its’ audience.