Made (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Made is the long-awaited new collaboration from the Swingers team of Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn.

The basic premise is that a decent, sensible guy takes an entry-level mob job against his better judgment because he wants to provide for his girlfriend, her daughter, and his clueless best friend.

It is a unique approach to comedy in that it is a completely serious movie, and every character is completely true-to-life except the clueless best friend, played by Vince Vaughn. Vaughn goes along on the first mob assignment, and manages to bungle everything with his obnoxious and addle-brained behavior. The character is a guy who can't even manage a job sweeping floors, but gets a chance to be a mob guy because his friend "vouches for him". 


Famke Janssen worked as a stripper for private parties, but never got past her bikini.

Fellow stripper Jenteal showed her breasts and buns.

It's obvious from the outtakes that almost all of Vaughn's dialogue was improvised, and that's mighty dangerous when 100% of the humor was on his back. That put a lot of pressure on him to be funny. Favreau was the writer/director, but he obviously gave Vaughn a premise and let him fly with it. They did dozens of different takes with different lines, and used the ones that came out best. Vaughn's character is exactly the same character that Fred Willard always does, and he creates the scenes with the same improv technique that Willard uses.. Unfortunately, he isn't as funny as Willard, or as economical with his words.  Of course, humor is subjective but, frankly, I rarely laughed at this movie. Vaughn's character was more irritating than funny, and his screw-ups were always completely predictable. I did enjoy watching the outtakes, because it was interesting to see the different approaches they tried to the scenes, and Vaughn is really quite good at improvising dialogue in character, even if it isn't always funny.

I did laugh out loud once. Vaughn was trying to convince a doorman that he should get into one of those cool clubs where they turn people away, and he was rejected for not being cool enough by the same guy who admitted Screech from "Saved by the Bell" (playing himself). When you're less cool than Screech, it's probably time to drop out of the club scene.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • see the main commentary

Although the last ten minutes of the film are not funny, I did enjoy the conclusion. The final scenes allowed Favreau to resolve the problem with the mob job and the girlfriend and the girlfriend's daughter, and the film moved much more honestly with a minimum of Vaughn's irritating and constant babble.

Jenteal, the adult film star, appears in this film, marking perhaps the first time she has appeared in a movie without the word "anal" in the title. Big Pussy from The Sopranos is also in the movie, so it scores very high with pussy-oriented viewers. 

Writer/director Favreau is a workaholic, and an intelligent guy. This DVD is crammed with the results of his efforts: the entire written script, hours of outtakes and alternate takes, several deleted scenes, a scene editing workshop, and full length commentary by Favreau and Vaughn. He may become a great filmmaker on hard work alone, but he has a long way to go. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 1.5/4, Apollo 79.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 65% positive reviews.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.3, Apollo users 82/100 
  • With their dollars ... a bomb, virtually abandoned by the studio. Five million domestic gross, never reaching more than 165 screens. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C. Just an OK comedy. Some good dialogue, and an interesting premise, but not that funny.

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