Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn try to recapture their “Swingers” glory with “Made,” a film about two L.A. losers who try to become gangsters. As is usually the case with people trying to recapture their glory, they do not succeed. Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place, and forcing it to follow the exact same trajectory as last time isn’t going to help any.
Favreau is Bobby, a weary odd-jobs guy whose current employment is in escorting his stripper girlfriend Jessica (Famke Janssen) from one bachelor party to the next and making sure the men don’t manhandle her.
Then he’s called up to the big leagues by Jewish mobster Max (a delightfully profane Peter Falk), who wants him to go to New York for a job with murky details and an uncertain level of danger.
The difficult part is that Bobby’s life-long friend and complete moron Ricky (Vaughn) is going with him. Bobby’s duty is to find jobs for the incompetent Ricky, and Ricky is currently beholden to Max for having “lost” his delivery truck a while back.
Ricky is a guy who talks constantly and never listens. He’s a guy who thinks he’s the epitome of with-it-ness and cosmopolitan demeanor. He think he can fit in anywhere, because he knows “how it’s done.” He tips big and talks bigger. He’s an utter buffoon.
As such, he is at times very funny and at other times cringe-worthy. He’s more obnoxious than Vaughn’s “Swingers” character, who had enough funny lines to make up for the fact that if you met him in real life, you’d smack him.
In New York, Bobby and Ricky meet their contact, a high-living fellow named Ruiz (Sean “Puffy” Combs, who, to answer your next question, cannot really act). Ricky irritates him pretty quickly, and trouble ensues.
The film, written and directed by Favreau (who also wrote “Swingers”), is held together by moments. A funny moment when Ricky and Bobby are denied access to a dance club but Screech from “Saved by the Bell” gets in. A lot of amusing phraseology and slang. Bobby’s consistently good reactions to Ricky, whom he appears to have been tired of for as long as they’ve known each other. The fact they’re always getting into fistfights.
But isolated moments do not make a film great. “Made” is enjoyably glib throughout, but not nearly as much so as the film it’s trying to duplicate. Reuniting a pair, even one with as much comedy chemistry as Favreau and Vaughn, does not guarantee success. All it did was make me want to watch “Swingers” again.
C+ (; )