Monday, July 23, 2001

Movie Review: Made

It's impossible to write about Made without mentioning Swingers. Both are written by Jon Favreau. (He also directs the former, while Doug Liman (Go) directed the latter). Both star Favreau and Vince Vaughn. Swingers is about love and dating in the world of L.A. nightlife, while Made is about... well, it's not about much, but it's the story of two guys who become low-level thugs for Max the Mafia boss (Peter Falk) and are given a task to prove their worth.

Swingers is one of those movies that you either get and love, or you don't get and hate. I know both kinds of people. Made is a little more accessible. Mafia movies, given their history, are a little more easy to swallow than movies about the young, fast-talking, swing-dancing L.A. set. Bobby (Favreau) is an aspiring boxer who works construction jobs by day and acts as driver/bodyguard for his stripper girlfriend (Famke Janssen) by night, both in the employ of Max the mafia boss. Max decides to give Bobby a shot at a better position within his business, sending him to New York to perform a "drop." Bobby convinces the reluctant Max to let his lifelong friend Ricky (Vaughn) come along. Max gets Bobby to "vouch" for him. For those that don't know what that means: if Ricky fucks up, Bobby will be held responsible. The issue is, Ricky is, well, a fuck-up. Hilarity ensues. Really. I wasn't being sarcastic: hilarity does ensue. For all-out laughs, Made has Swingers beat.

My problem with the movie is its lack of about. Moreso than Swingers, there is a plot, a story-line, a Point A-to-Point B. But with the addition of plot, there seems to be a sacrifice of deeper characterization and overall theme. Is it about friendship? I guess. Is it about finding one's path? A little bit. Is it about taking responsibility? Maybe. I'm just not definite on any of these things.

Nevertheless, I was entertained. The dialogue is smart and fast. Vaughn is a riot. Music is cool. The movie is hilarious. Here's some algebra:

(Swingers + mafia + more laughs) - depth = Made

Go. Enjoy. Despite its shortcomings, it's better than most of the crap out there!

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