Made (2001) — The Swingers successor everyone forgot about

“Frogs aren’t purple by the way. Have you ever seen a purple frog?”

Clare’s rating: When Columbo tells you to fly across the country to do his bidding, you damn well better listen.

Clare’s review: As many of you may already be intimately aware, I Love Jon Favreau and You Should Too. So it may come as some surprise that I actually waited for a movie written, co-produced, and directed by my- boyfriend-who-lives-in-the-TV to come out on DVD before I checked it out. Worry not my minions, I waited for the at-home experience only to cut down on the excessive amount of drooling I tend to do in public places already.

Made tells the story of best friends Bobby (Favs) and Ricky (Vince Vaughn), two half-assed boxers with hearts of gold who get themselves sent on a caper by a mob boss who looks surprisingly similar to the grandfather from The Princess Bride.

Of course a set up like this can’t ever go according to plan, so all sorts of wacky stuff happens between the set up and the payoff. The main problem these schmoes have is that working for the mob requires most situations to be handled with some semblance of finesse and an understanding of the unspoken rules of decorum among bad guys in nice suits. Unfortunately for Bobby (and occasionally, the audience), his pal Ricky is the kind of dolt who couldn’t find his ass with a map. Most of the time his alarming lack of clue reads as kind of outlandishly funny. Other times it just made me wish he’d shut up. What’s more important (and more interesting) than Ricky’s incessant need to flap his gums is what this movie says about being loyal to your friends and about the true meaning of integrity.

Those of you who rent Made thinking it will be some sort of retooled version of Swingers may be either disappointed or overjoyed depending on how you felt about the original on-screen teaming of Favreau and Vaughn. While there’s certainly a chemistry between the two leads, their characters this time are more finely tuned and, eventually, more likable. There aren’t as many bust-a-gut laughs and (thankfully) not as many catchphrase driven exchanges between the myriad of characters.

So what it loses in some areas it gains in others. Plus, it was really great to see New York City looking so darn, I don’t know, happy I guess. There are tons of unbilled cameos, piles of little interesting set details and recurring imagery (penguins anyone) and one certified porn star in a role that, well, won’t surprise you at all. Made isn’t perfect, but it’s worth a watch for certain sure.

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