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Swingers was somewhat of a surprise hit for John Favreau and Vince Vaughn. Audiences took to their casual and witty comedic style as well as a story strewn with pop culture references and a relevance to the common man. It was the film that announced Favreau as a great writer and Vaughn as a charismatic screen presence. Some five years later the itch became all too much and the pair had to reunite for another shot at good, solid comedy. Which is where Made comes in.

Movie
Essentially the feel of the film is the same but with different subject matter. This time Favreau plays Bobby Ricigliano, an aspiring boxer and part-time security guard who is trying ever-so-desperately to free his girlfriend Jessica (Famke Janssen) from her job as a stripper. Enter Jessica’s boss, Max (Peter Falk), who lands Bobby a job as “muscle” on a drug deal. But Bobby wants his long-time friend Ricky (Vaughn) to come along. Max knows he’s trouble, in fact he’s basically the most annoying person on the planet, but lets him tag along only if it’s on Bobby’s hide if he screws up. Rules are set down before they head off to New York and we all know they’re going to be broken, mainly by Ricky who is as loose a cannon as they come.

Made

What follows is basically your trouble-meets-more-trouble storyline, with Bobby and Ricky finding themselves in some awkward situations and even fighting between themselves before things start to look up. The story doesn’t just involve Vaughn and Favreau hamming it up, with a host of other names popping up now and then to lend a bit of a hand. Sean Combs (a.k.a Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, D. Puffy or whatever the hell his name is at the moment) bobs up as drug dealer Ruiz and actually hold his own among all the F-bombs he drops in each scene he appears. Other names pop up now and then, making Favreau look a lot more influential than some give him credit for. Sam Rockwell makes a brief cameo as the bus boy at the hotel in New York, the delectable Jennifer Esposito has a short scene for comic value and even Australia’s Kimberley Davies makes an appearance. And full marks to Favreau for casting little Makenzie Vega (of The Family Man fame) as his daughter, because she’s a little gem.

If anything this film is carried largely by the great chemistry between straight man Favreau and wild man Vaughn. While the former can’t really act to save himself he is the perfect foil for Vaughn to bounce off, and you’ll end up loving to hate Ricky the whole way through. Still, it doesn’t disguise the fact that the pair haven’t really moved all that far from their previous effort so it will be interesting to see how things change if and when they team up for the third time. You definitely won’t hate this film, especially considering its relatively short running time, but the fact that Vaughn and Favreau are still the same character and that their parents are still making brief appearances tends to suggest the pair need to make a larger step up for their next film before they become redundant.

Video
The film is presented in 1.78:1 and is 16:9 enhanced, though the cover states that the disc is actually full frame. On the whole it looks quite good, with vibrant colours and deep blacks as the Bobby and Ricky travel in their limo around New York. Sharpness is a little lacking and there is some aliasing dotted around in the usual problem objects and places, but none of it is all that distracting.

One thing to note is that Favreau sought out cinematographer Chris Doyle to work on the film’s visuals. His shot composition and framing is quite good save for a couple of scenes where they must have let the work experience kid take the helm for a while. Around 40 minutes in there’s a scene where the framing is totally out, leaving more headroom than subject room and looking like the producer’s kids were jumping up and down on top of the camera at the same time. Bizarre, but it’s only for a brief period.

Made

Audio
Despite its non-promotion on the back cover there is actually a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack included on this disc. There’s not a great deal for the surrounds to use as most of the story rest among the dialogue but there are moments when the subwoofer and rears are called upon to lend a hand. Dialogue is always clear even when Vaughn and Favreau argue at a million miles and hour. A Dolby 2.0 track is also included.

The music is where the sound really lifts up a notch. Featuring largely unknown groups with little exposure to movie soundtracks before the eclectic mix of funk, jazz and a little pop here and there really does suit the tone of the film. And it really does sound good pumping out of the speakers, including utilising the rears. John O’Brien and Lyle Workman are the men in question here and should be commended for some great work with a small budget and relatively untried acts.

Extras
There’s actually a decent extras package supplied with the disc which really does give us an insight into how Favreau and Vaughn like to work. First up is a series of featurettes, starting with a nice little piece entitled Getting It MADE starting things off. Vaughn and Favreau talk about how Swingers came about and the natural progression that lead them to making a film like Made. We get a brief insight into how Favreau likes to write and conduct his work, with more to come in the other extras on the disc.

Next up is The Creative Process a short piece on Favreau’s view on the film and how he began writing the story. There’s not a lot of footage from the film unless it is necessary to make a point which is great as we can go further into the minds of the actors and their views on the story and their characters. The last featurette is called Making The Music Of Made and is a great piece that shows how Favreau decided to get some of his friends in to collaborate over the music, each with their own distinct style. There’s a heap of interviews with the music guys and a few clips from the film, making this well worth a look. The featurettes total around 45 minutes overall.

Moving on, the deleted scenes include some great little scenes as well as an alternate ending with more of the cute-as-a-button Makenzie Vega. There is also a commentary track over the scenes by John Favreau and Vince Vaughn and they have a lot to say about the specific bits that were left out of the final cut. Well worth a look.

Made

The outtakes section features a stack of footage of the guys messing up their lines and generally mucking around. It also highlights how Vaughn and Favreau do a hell of a lot of improvising in each scene to try and conjure up some more funny moments. There’s no play all feature for this section which is a bit of a drag but these are genuinely funny clips that are highly enjoyable to watch. There are also some alternate scenes running for over half an hour, giving the disc a great deal of cut footage to look at.

The rest of the extras section is made up of a very slick theatrical trailer, a teaser trailer to some funky “raw-hide” music, cast & crew bios and production notes, rounding out what is a very solid package. Sadly there’s no sight of the video commentary afforded to the Region 1 release but with the relatively cheap price tag on this title you’d have to think carefully before making an import.

Overall
The chemistry between Vince Vaughn and John Favreau that was so evident in Swingers is still there with Made though it seems the film hasn’t followed much of a natural progression in terms of a more accomplished storyline. There’s plenty of laughs to be had thanks to Vaughn’s Ricky, and you’ll get more of the jokes the second time around. The video and audio are quite good while the extras package is highly enjoyable so with a decent price this should be a worthwhile disc to pick up.  


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