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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Overcast
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For a moment there, it seemed like Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau were ' to use their own word ' money. Both had starred in Swingers, Doug Liman's retro-hip ode to Frank, Dino, Sammy and the whole Rat Pack way of life. And if the characters they played seemed closer to the Mickey Mouse Club than to the Rat Pack, that was part of the movie's flop-sweat charm; they were losers posing as poseurs. But neither actor has exactly set the world on fire since then. Vaughn ran from the kind of lizards that don't lounge in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and he was Norman Bates in Gus Van Sant's scene-by-scene Psycho retread. Meanwhile, Favreau...well, I remember seeing him on "The Sopranos" once, playing himself, an actor/scriptwriter sifting through the Sopranos' underwear drawer for a story idea.

He must have found one. Made, which Favreau wrote, directed and stars in, is to "The Sopranos" as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is to Hamlet ' a comedy of errors about a pair of numbskulls who have no business getting wrapped up with the Mob. Especially Vaughn's Ricky, who's a walking, talking time bomb. Apparently, Ricky once took a bullet for Favreau's Bobby (in the head, no doubt). At least that's how the movie justifies Bobby taking Ricky along on his first assignment for Max, an L.A. crime boss whom Peter Falk plays by channeling Mr. Magoo. But the plane hasn't even touched down in Manhattan before Ricky's causing problems, squeezing every last ounce of privilege out of his first-class ticket. He's that old standby, an arrogant idiot, and you have to wonder how long he has to live.

Vaughn isn't really right for the role. He's got the arrogance down but not the idiocy. (For both, see Robert De Niro in King of Comedy.) Still, the movie's at its best when Ricky and Bobby engage in verbal sparring, which seems to occur at the slightest provocation. And when verbal sparring fails, they engage in physical sparring. The movie opens with the two of them in a boxing ring hurling powder puffs at each other, and Favreau makes a sly reference to Raging Bull. The Scorsese film that casts a bigger shadow over Made is Mean Streets, of course, but Favreau wisely refuses to enter the ring with the master, just has his fun up in the peanut gallery. Made could use more shaping; there's drifting within and among the scenes. But Vaughn and Favreau do a reasonable job of impersonating Hope and Crosby on the Road to Disaster.

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