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Movie Review: Made

Story: The only reason I went to see this film was because last fall, while volunteering at my usual Friday stint, they were filming a sequence of the movie at the Central Park Zoo. As they were positioned outside of the penguin house I stood around and watched and schmoozed with the crew. I saw the two stars and put this 'to be announced' film in my memory bank to see it when it was released. And so, hoping that the Zoo scenes would not end up on the cutting room floor I made my way to my favorite stadium seating multiplex.

Writer, co-producer, director and actor Jon Favreau (Swingers) brings us a very male buddy movie. Two street types are employed by a mob boss to do a simple pickup and deliver, job. In scene after what seems to be unending scenes, mayhem, a lot of guy stuff (women are depicted very poorly), cutesy banter and shenanigans ensue. The story rambles and changes direction too often. On the brighter side, I did laugh quite a bit (although not nearly as much as some of the theater audience -more on that below) and I think that Favreau has an interesting future ahead of him. Also, my beloved penguins did make it to the big screen for an important scene. Of course, I was so busy enjoying the penguins I paid no attention to the dialog. I have attached a photo of them so you can save your $10 and not have to see the film.

Acting: Jon Favreau, whose future is probably behind the camera, did a nice job of underplaying his role against Vince Vaughn's character, who was in high throttle for most of the film. I like Vince Vaughn (Clay Pigeons, Psycho, Swingers) and hope to see a lot more of him in the future. By the way, both of them produced the film. The supporting cast was very uneven. Peter Falk, played a funny caricature of himself as the mob boss. Sean (sans the Puffy) Combs was laughable, and also many Soprano characters appeared in both big and small parts. For you Soprano fans, Uncle Pussy, Vincent Pastore has a big role - so he is not sleeping with the fishes. I did laugh when reading the end credits to see that Jon Favreau's mother played what appeared to be a Zoo Guide in the penguin house.

Critters: Several goldfish, many of the Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins and Lily and Ida, two of the three polar bears at the Central Park Zoo. All were fabulous.

Food: Pasta Puttanesca.

Visual Art: There was lots of hotel art, children's art, drawings of thoroughbred horses, and while reading the credits a charcoal drawing (of a nude woman) was attributed to Peter Falk. Who knew?

Blatant Product Placement: New York City is a featured player in the film. And the reason the NYC film board does not charge for movie permits is because it is a great advertisement and public relations coup to have New York as a major player in a film. The Soho Grand Hotel, the Central Park Zoo, Times Square, Little Italy (what's left of it) shops, bridges and many streets are all looking just fine.

Soundtrack: A big mix of music from Dean Martin's melodic songs to rap stuff.

Opening Titles: Just the name of the film is shown at the beginning.

Theater Audience: A pretty large crowd of mostly guys (that should have tipped me off) many who seemed to get all of the in jokes throughout the film. At first, I thought I just wasn't paying attention, but apparently there are many of these jokes scattered throughout the film. It leaves the rest of the audience (or maybe just me) in the dark. And these guys laughed way too long and hard at these scenes.

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: Best acting by a penguin should get a nod.

Nit Picking: This has nothing to do with the film but I am getting really pissed by all of the advertisements that appear before the previews. I suffered through ads for Buick, American Express, a CD for Destiny's Child and those weird ads for M and M candy, featuring the green ones.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. But if you want to see penguins, come to the Zoo.

Length: 90 minutes.