While watching Made, Jon Favreau’s latest effort, a thought occurred to me. It was this: If I ever happen to be on a public payphone and a stranger walked up to me and ask me to hang up so he can use the phone, I would do it.
As Made opens, we are introduced to our two main characters, Bobby (Jon Favreau) and Ricky (Vince Vaughn), as they beat the living daylights out of each other in a boxing ring. The way the two men are going at it makes us believe they’re long-time enemies, only to learn they’re long-time friends. Both are low-rent thugs in the mob, but Ricky has aspirations of being something more. Bobby, on the other hand, just wants to live a good life with his stripper girlfriend, Jessica (Famke Jansen) and her little daughter.
Peter Falk plays a local mafia chief who sends the boys on their first real mob-connected job, much to Ricky’s delight and Bobby’s consternation. Bobby, you see, is indebted to Ricky, and has spent the better part of his adult life trying to repay the unexplained debt. Still, when Falk’s Maxy asks if Bobby will “vouch” for Ricky, Bobby hesitates. And he has every reason to, since trying to control Ricky is like trying to control a tornado, only with less success.
Twenty minutes into Made, a second thought occurred to me: “Gee, I hope this is like Goodfellas, and someone splatter Vince Vaughn’s character all over the sidewalk, but completely disfigure his face with a hammer beforehand, and oh yeah, how about a sledgehammer to the crotch for good measure?” What started as a funny character quickly became utterly annoying and infuriating. Did Vaughn think he was being funny or quirky?
At this point, I am left to wonder if Favreau, the movie’s writer/director, actually wrote the Ricky character as being such a relentless a-hole. Much of the movie seems spur of the moment, like the actors were adlibbing their lines. These scenes are most apparent during the ones involving Vaughn, whose Ricky is the poster child for attention deficit disorder and the legalization of abortion. My dislike of Ricky stems from my natural instinct to despise things and people who are irredeemable punks. After realizing that some of the movie’s scenes are adlibbed, I am left to wonder if Vince Vaughn is this much of an irredeemable a-hole in real life.
As for the movie’s plot, Bobby and Ricky are sent by Maxy to New York City to assist in a shady deal. The fine points of the deal are unimportant, since they are overshadowed by Ricky’s constant mouthing off and brainless actions. In an annotation of note, Sean Combs shows up as a gangster/mogul who Bobby and Ricky meet. Combs does a very decent job as an actor, and best of all, his character shared my annoyance of Ricky.
After having sat through Made and somehow managing to not turn the movie off and burn my copy of the movie in order to rid my life of Vince Vaughn’s Ricky forever, I am left with an utterly unfulfilled feeling. Perhaps that’s the whole point of the movie — life is unfulfilling, much like Bobby’s dreams of being a professional boxer. Or Ricky’s dream of being a gangster. Or even Bobby’s simple dream of having a decent family with his stripper girlfriend.
Then again, I’m still steamed at Jon Favreau for denying me the opportunity to see Ricky’s brains splattered on the sidewalk.
Jon Favreau (director) / Jon Favreau (screenplay)
CAST: Jon Favreau …. Bobby
Vince Vaughn …. Ricky
Joe Goossen …. Referee
Famke Janssen …. Jessica