This is the perfect time for Lion’s Gate to release Made on UMD for the PSP. Not only does the film feature such trendy personalities as Faizon Love and Puff Daddy/Puffy/Sean “Puffy” Combs/P-Diddy/Diddy, but it also stars the current comedic genius of the week… Vince Vaughn. That’s not to say that I don’t like Vince Vaughn, it’s just that he is riding such a high wave since his hilarious work in Wedding Crashers that this is the perfect time for the studio to cash in on some of his lesser known films …s well. In fact, I have been a fan of Vaughn’s ever since Swingers.
Which brings me to my point. Made is one of those all-too-rare films that aren’t really sequels, but are something of a reimagining of a couple of characters. Vaughn and writer/director/co-star Jon Favreau pretty much play the same two guys they did in Swingers, which I just can’t get enough of. While the topic of that film was dating in Los Angeles, this one is about the dull life of lower-level gangsters trying to make it big. These two bumbling idiots decide that the best way to make a name for themselves (and earn some cash to boot) is to act as L.A. muscle for a NYC mob operation. As you can imagine, their failures are comic gold.
This film could very easily have fallen into the trap of becoming the next Dumb and Dumberer or Dude, Where’s My Car?, but Favreau does an excellent job of keeping it above those basic slapstick puns, and creating humor out of his own uncomfortable silences and Vaughn’s idiot wit. The dark comedy means that this is not a film that everyone is going to like, but it certainly has its audience. Count me as one of them.
It sounds to me like the volume level on this disc has been boosted a little from most UMD movie releases. One of the big problems with most UMD titles is that the audio is simply not loud enough to hear. It sounds to me that this problem has been remedied somewhat, which is really great news. I would have preferred to have had this disc mastered in Dolby Headphone, but the standard stereo track that is here is pretty impressive on its own. The dialog is clear, and the score is quite full and fantastic. I was also pleased to hear that the track takes advantage of correct sound placement within the headphones, so the sounds travel nicely and accurately around the viewers headspace.
One of the amazing things about the PSP is the detail put forth by the unit’s big beautiful screen. Made is formatted in 16:9, so the image perfectly fills the screen with no extra black space. The disc handles black levels very well, which is great since so much of the film takes place at night or in darkened rooms. I was especially pleased with the “motorcycle” scene, in which a fleet of street bikes are driving through New York’s night streets. Closeups of the bright white headlights don’t bleed over into the black of night, which is really impressive. Detail is plentiful as always, and skin tones are accurate.
The one problem that I did come across is that the images tend to jump when the camera is panning. For some reason this seems to be a problem that shows up on a lot of UMD movies, so this disc is certainly not in the minority. Still, this is a nagging problem that the studios desperately need to find a solution for.
You’ve got to love it when “Full-Length Movie” is listed under the special features. Never fear, though, there are a couple of genuine extras on this disc. First up is a six-and-a-half minute run of deleted scenes. It looks like most of these were cut simply because they were dramatic instead of comedic. While I am certain that the films run time was the impetus for the cuts, it looks like the decision was made to skew the film toward comedy while making the cuts.
Similarly, the disc’s other extra is an assortment of outtakes. Shockingly, these run a whopping 25-minutes in length! While they are not all funny, many of the scenes revolve around Vince Vaughn’s character, and it is really fun to see him ad-lib his lines. Many of his lines are really funny, but his co-stars can’t hold it together long enough to get a decent take out of the scenes.
It is clear that this disc would not have been released on UMD if it were not for the amazing popularity of Wedding Crashers. While I enjoyed Wedding Crashers, I am really pleased that its popularity allowed this film to be made available for portable viewing. Vaughn has a unique ability to be the world’s biggest jerk, yet still be funny and oddly likable. Quality audio, clean video and a surprisingly long selection of outtakes makes this a quality disc.
Special Features List
- Deleted Scenes