Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Jon Favreau, Vince
Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Vincent Pastore, Peter Falk
Director: Jon Favreau
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.77:1
Features: See Review
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: November 27, 2001
“Where are they taking us,
“Yeah, where are they gonna
whack us, Jimmy?”
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since a
little gem of a movie called Swingers came out of nowhere and became an
instant underground classic with the college scene. I still watch the movie
frequently and laugh harder upon each viewing. It was one of my top favorite
films of 1996, and much of the film’s success relied on the fresh tone of the
comedy, created by the film’s two leading stars, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn.
Favreau was also credited with the writing of the movie, which was such a
remarkable piece of comedic cinema that it should’ve received some Oscar
consideration for best original screenplay. Much of my praise went towards a
then unknown Vince Vaughn, who later went on to appear in much bigger
productions such as The Lost World: Jurassic Park and The Cell.
Vaughn created in that film one of the single funniest characters I had ever
come across in any movie, spouting out knockout one-liners and creating such
catchy phrases as “You’re so money and you don’t even know it.” When I
first heard that Faverau and Vaughn were reuniting for another small project, I
was immediately lit with anticipation. The result, Made, is yet another
memorable riot of a movie, headlined by the same unbeatable rapport that made Swingers
such a memorable classic.
Favreau and Vaughn play Bobby and Ricky, who have been best
friends since their high school days. They are both currently down on their
luck, struggling as aspiring heavyweight boxers in LA. They both have a day job
building houses, and Bobby carries a second job as a personal manager to his
stripper/girlfriend, Jess (Famke Janssen). She’s a complete wreck, working
every night and sleeping all day, which prevents her from being a good mother to
her young daughter, whom Bobby and Ricky are frequently looking after, and are
more loving of her.
One night, Bobby drives Jess to a bachelor party gig, and
after observing one patron’s perverted requests, loses it and lays a beating
on him. That incident gets in trouble with his building job, with his boss, Max
(Peter Falk), having to pay in damages since his pays out the strippers. Bobby
pleads for a second chance, and Max agrees to delivering one, and a big one at
that. He proposes to Bobby taking care of some mob-related business in New York,
to which he immediately says yes to, and asks Ricky to accompany him, which
isn’t easy for Max, because Ricky is a hothead who has screwed up in the past
for Max, but he eventually agrees.
The two are given $1500 each, as well as round trip air
tickets, and a numeric pager for business affairs. They soon find themselves en
route to the big apple, but it’s not even before their airplane takes off that
Ricky, feeling like a pimp king in first class, starts to make the trip
difficult by hitting on the flight attendant. They arrive in New York greeted by
limo driver Jimmy, played by Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos, who
provides their transportation to the strange locations they are required to be
at when ever paged. The trip turns into a hectic one for Bobby, who’s mind is
on business, as he attempts to keep a lid on Ricky, who’s looking solely to
party and hook up with women, or “honies” as he terms them, a la Swingers.
Their business contact is local crime boss Ruiz, played by rapper Sean “P.
Diddy” Combs who turns in an impressive acting debut. Ruiz is all about
performance, which leaves him pretty much un-impressed with Bobby and Ricky, as
the two are told to keep cool in their business dealings, only to have Ricky
unwisely open his mouth at the wrong time.
Like Swingers, the success of Made goes
mostly to Vince Vaughn’s priceless performance as Ricky, a fast talker who’s
a magnet for trouble even though he means well, and thinks mostly with his mouth
and not his brain. It’s hard to create a character like this, one that’s
should come off as someone who’s intensely unlikable, and Vaughn is able to
make Ricky into a charming loser, something that I have rarely seen an actor do.
It’s simply a masterful job of performance. Favreau scores on his acting
level, too, and much credit should go his way too for creating this sharp and
entertaining piece, and the supporting work from Falk and Combs is priceless.
Made is one of this year’s best films, and marks a successful directing debut for Jon Favreau. Those looking for a comedy, especially fans of Swingers, should take immediate notice.
Made is loaded with lots of visual style, and the DVD presentation from Artisan is a viewing pleasure that enhances this quality. Right from frame one, the image quality is that of a superb one, as this anamorphic presentation glows with vibrant colors and bold clearness and sharpness. Completely voided of any softness or image compression, Artisan scores high with simply one of the best transfers ever.
The power of this 5.1
presentation comes mainly from the film’s soundtrack, which consists mostly of
bluesy music, as well as some modern hip hop numbers. A few scenes take place in
nightclubs, which also payoff extremely well. In addition to that, simple scenes
consisting of dialogue come in clear as clear can be. The audio job on Made
marks another DVD high point for Artisan.
Artisan delivers with one of the best loaded discs to date. This is a first rate line up of extras, as we are treated to a funny and wonderful commentary by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, who are frequently insightful with the process of getting such a film made (no pun intended). There are many funny moments in the film, as the two occasionally kid around about the fact that Vaughn’s character is at times a resemblance of the character from Swingers. The commentary also has an action illustration option, where arrows and lines are drawn to point out certain things they are talking about, some of which caught me by surprise. Also included are three documentaries, “Getting it Made”, “The Creative Process”, and “The Music of Made”, a scene edit work shop, a hilarious compilation of outtakes, alternate and deleted scenes, both with optional commentary, a montage of used and un-used music cues, and a trailer and a teaser for the film.