out of five
: 94 mins
Extremely amusing follow-up to Swingers – well-written and well-acted,
though your enjoyment will largely depend on how high your Vince Vaughn
tolerance level is.
On series 3 of The Sopranos, Jon ‘Swingers’ Favreau appeared in an episode playing himself, in which he was researching material for a mob comedy and now, in one of those strange, post-modern, life-imitates-art-type things, we have what could very easily be that self-same mob comedy.
Made is written and directed by Jon Favreau and stars both Favreau and Vince Vaughn, so the basic relationship between the two central characters of Swingers is essentially recreated, even though they're playing different characters.
The plot is pretty basic. Favreau's character Bobby works on the fringes of the mob 'action', (driving his stripper girlfriend –Janssen- to bachelor parties etc) and Vince Vaughn is Ricky, his childhood best friend, who keeps messing up on all the jobs Favreau manages to get him via mob boss Peter Falk.
Eventually, Vaughn causes one screw-up too many and they're sent to New York with a bundle of expenses money and asked to wait for instructions. Are they going to get whacked? What will the job involve? And so on…
It’s entirely possible to enjoy Made without having seen, or even heard of Swingers, but there’s no denying that a large part of the film’s appeal is in seeing these two actors play close friends onscreen again. Having said that, how much you enjoy the movie will very much depend on how funny / infuriating you find Vaughn's character.
If you thought Trent in Swingers was annoying, then multiply that by about ten. Ricky always says the wrong thing, always opens his mouth at the wrong time, always thinks he’s right and NEVER shuts up, and that’s the joke. If you DO find him funny, however, you’ll be chuckling throughout the entire film.
The film is well acted, with Vaughn in particular pulling off the tricky feat of making Ricky sympathetic, despite his multiple mess-ups. There’s also good support from Famke Janssen, Peter Falk (born to play low-level mob bosses) and Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs (aka the ex-Mr Jennifer Lopez) as Ruiz, the gangster Ricky and Bobby have to deal with.
On top of this there are a couple of decent cameos from the likes of Sam Rockwell and –in one of the film’s funniest scenes- ‘Screech’ from ‘Saved By The Bell’.
In short, Made is a well-written, character-driven comedy that has several laugh-out-loud moments and will undoubtedly be a welcome treat for fans of ‘Swingers’. Recommended.