Made Review

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Struggling boxer Bobby, annoyed by his girlfriend's career as a stripper and his own lack of progress, accepts a job from gangster Max to protect New York partner, Ruiz. But Bobby won't go without best friend Ricky, who tends to open his mouth when he should keep it shut.


Back in 1996, when you couldn't move for oiks trying to be cool by relentlessly saying, 'You're so money, baby', the Swingers duo of Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn were on top of the world. But for a while a series of poor career choices saw them somewhat squander that Next Big Thing potential.

So it's unsurprising that Made is about two semi-likeable losers, both of whom depend on and tolerate each other for reasons not even they understand, struggling against the world and its vagaries, only to be thwarted at every turn by stupidity and fate.

But it's also a darker, grittier affair, pretty much as far removed from Swingers loose-limbed sense of fun as you can get. As an insight into a Vaughn-Favreau world-view now filtered through layers of Hollywood hard knocks, the film is priceless.

Yet there are still reassuring touchstones for Swingers fans: the now-classic answerphone scene is here reworked as an encounter with a haughty air stewardess, while Vaughn's Ricky resembles a party-wizened Trent, as channelled through a truculent, four year-old child. Self-righteous, obstreperous, and very, very stupid, Ricky is a whining high-speed accident waiting to happen. He dominates the movie - a brave move on Favreau's part for, no matter how good Vaughn's performance is, chances are you'll end up wanting to strangle him.

Where Trent became an iconic King Of Cool, it's hard to imagine Ricky doing anything other than inspiring after-film, Jar Jar-type debates. Pity, really, for despite this and a few other flaws, this is an enjoyable and occasionally very funny spin on the gangster genre, all wise-asses, cheap suits, and - refreshingly - with nary a shot fired.

Favreau directs economically, extracting excellent performances from his cast, particularly Falk, while Combs, eschewing any Ken Dodd-related monikers to play it straight, is surprisingly menacing. Favreau's script, meanwhile, is as piquantly observed as anything in Swingers. Difficult Second Movie hurdle negotiated. Just.

Vaughn and Favreau gel together superbly, but anyone expecting to see Swingers 2 will be sorely disappointed.