"Made" is the second teaming of stars Jon Faverau and Vince Vaughn, whose stardom was made by 1996's "Swingers", a low-budget hit about low-level actors trying to convince each other that they were "money". Unfortunately, although "Made" is somewhat enjoyable, it's noticably not as charming or entertaining as the duo's previous picture. The film is written, directed by and stars Faverau as Bobby, who's a decent boxer. Things aren't going well and instead of continuing to do construction gigs, he's offered a job by a gangster named Max (Peter Falk). The simple job: go to New York City and wait for the sign, accompanied by friend Ricky (Vaughn).
They're supposed to lay low and be quiet about the situation, but that's nearly impossible with motormouth Ricky, who talks his way into trouble at every possible moment, even getting them kicked off the plane on the way to NYC. While Vaughn's character is mildly entertaining for a little while, it gets irritating as the movie goes forward and an element that was sort of funny soon becomes tedious.
All they have to do is drop off a package from Max to Ruiz (Sean Combs). Of course, the two can't even manage to do this simple a task, as Ricky's ideas about how they should go about the deal gets them both into hot water. Bobby seems like a nice guy who just wants to get enough money to allow his girlfriend Jessica (Famke Janssen) to stop stripping and provide a better life for her daughter. You'd think that in real life he'd start pointing at Ricky and going "I don't know this guy." They get into full-on fights a few times throughout the movie, even ruining a hotel room at one point. It becomes inexplicable that they're still friends.
There's some good things about "Made". Faverau's performance is enjoyable, as usual. He's a decent guy trying to do good, but just getting pulled into trouble when it looks like he's about to win for once. Although his role isn't big enough to make much of an impression, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs is entertaining as Ruiz. Christopher Doyle, whose cinematography was superb in "In The Mood For Love" and Barry Levinson's "Liberty Heights", provides slick and attractive cinematography again here, especially in the New York City sequences. The music also sets the atmosphere perfectly, from classic tunes to more modern techno/rap.
If anything, "Made" isn't bad, but it needs a different tone. Lighter, quicker, sharper, funnier. The movie attempts to be drama and comedy and ends up being neither, when a less serious tone would have worked better. "Made" has enough moments to make it worthy of consideration as a rental, but it doesn't approach "Swingers", which will also reportedly be getting a Special Edition DVD in the near future.
VIDEO: "Made" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen by Artisan Entertainment. It's generally a fine transfer, presenting Christopher Doyle's wonderful cinematography in decent fashion. The picture remains fairly sharp and well-defined throughout the show, aside from a few minor points of softness on occasion.
The picture often remains without flaw, but little concerns start to sneak up now and then. The picture often appears lightly grainy, although that could be intentional. Other problems include some minor specks on the print used and brief instances of edge enhancement and pixelation. While not major, these flaws are briefly somewhat annoying.
Colors are strong and vibrant throughout, appearing nicely saturated and without any concerns. Black level also remained strong and flesh tones appeared natural, as well. Not without some minor blemishes, but a very nice transfer, nonetheless.
SOUND: "Made" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 on this DVD edition. While the audio is not particularly active, there's one thing that it provides in terrific fashion, and that's the music. Surrounds are really used in fine fashion to fully deliver the music and fill the listening space. Other than the music, there's the occasional ambient sounds delivered by the surrounds, but these instances are a bit few and far between. Again, audio quality remained excellent, as the music sounded warm and rich and dialogue came through clearly and naturally. Generally not remarkable, but the music sounded great.
MENUS: Nicely done animated menus - the main menu and some of the sub-menus are animated with clips from the feature and music. All are easily navigated and nicely designed.
Commentary: This is a commentary from actors Jon Faverau and Vince Vaughn, along with co-producer Peter Billingsley. The commentary is different than the usual commentary in the way that it's, as Vaughn calls it, "John Madden style", complete with the ability to draw and circle things on-screen (they even play tic-tac-toe at one point). The three are able to discuss the production in great detail, talking about the look and feel of the film as well as sharing stories about what happened during shooting. Otherwise, they informally chat about the characters and point out various in-jokes and other elements that the audience may not catch. The on-screen "action" commentary is optional, as the viewer can choose to simply listen to the audio commentary only.
Documentaries: There's three documentaries included; "Getting It Made", "The Creative Process" and "The Music Of Made". "Getting It Made" is a documentary that has Vaughn, Faverau and co-producer Billingsley discussing how the three were able to work with Artisan to develop the picture on a small enough budget to get their final cut for the picture. To be able to shoot a considerable low-budget picture in New York City is not easy and there's a good deal of detail about how the film had to be planned out considerably in advance.
"The Creative Process" revolves around the story and how characters and plot details were planned out and constructed. Both leads discuss how they saw their characters and their thoughts on playing the roles, while they also chat about working and improving with a tight shooting schedule. "Music" is, of course, all about the role of music in "Made" and how the tunes were picked.
More Made Footage: There's nine outtake clips (most of which are funnier than anything in the movie), five deleted scenes (one of which is an alternate ending (optional commentary) and nine alternate scenes (optional commentary, as well). The deleted and alternate scenes are fair, but the outtakes are occasionally very funny, as some of it seemed to play like "When Improv Goes Wrong".
Music Cues: Included are the music cues that were in the movie, as well as 26(!) that were not.
Scene Editing Workshop: The viewer is allowed to preview takes of four different shots and choose their edits to put together into their version of the final sequence. There's also the ability to compare the made sequence to the final sequence as it appears in the picture.
Also: Trailer, teaser trailer, production notes, cast/crew bios and DVD-ROM interactive screenplay index.
Final Thoughts: "Made" has some entertaining moments and strong atmosphere, but much of it seemed aimless and even at 90 minutes, the film felt slow in spots. Artisan's DVD offers enjoyable audio/video, as well as a superb group of supplements. A rental recommendation.