Cinemassholes #1: Ricky Slade


1st March 2005

Vince Vaughn certainly has an eclectic bunch of misfits on his CV this far in his career, most notably the always money Trent (Swingers), the lounge-lizard villain Reese Feldman (Starsky & Hutch) and the sardonic but athletic Peter La Fleur (Dodgeball). What do all these characters have in common? Simple - they are the very essence of cool. Made's Ricky Slade is not cool. He is the anti-Trent. He couldn't be less cool if he tried. Actually, forget that, because the more he tries, the more uncool he becomes. It's like John Favreau says on the DVD's director's commentary: "When Fonz hits the jukebox in this movie, the record player doesn't come on. Fonz gets thrown out." Not only is he in a different cool league from Trent and friends, he's quite possibly the most annoying associate you could ever dream of meeting, and certainly the last person you'd trust with a firearm.

Who is he? John Favreau's Made is the little-known companion piece to Doug Liman's ultra-hep lounge comedy Swingers, starring himself and partner Vaughn as a hapless pair of aspiring gangsters sent to New York on a money laundering errand by crime boss Max (Peter Falk). Bobby (Favreau) simply wants to get the job done and return home to his stripper girlfriend and her child. Ricky has other ideas. Satisfied that he's on the road to a gangster's paradise, Ricky starts talking the talk and walking the walk, all to the annoyance of his reluctant best friend, who's one burst blood vessel away from beating the living shit out of him. Everyone has a friend like Ricky Slade, but not everyone is as unfortunate to be as begrudgingly close to him as poor Bobby is. Arguments are regularly broken up with a swift bout of fisticuffs, when Ricky's verbal onslaughts become too infuriating for simple words to counter. Ricky Slade is a machine gun of profanity, peppering even the most innocent of sentences with shits and fucks, whether in the vicinity of small children or not.

The look Picture Swingers' Trent for a moment. Dressed up to the nines, effortlessly cool, from the immaculate hair to the bowling shirt right down to the suede loafers - he looked like he had just walked off the set of a 60's Sinatra movie. Ricky, on the other hand, has apparently been watching old Sinatra movies with the colour turned off. A real gangster should look like he has been poured into his suit. Ricky looks like he was spilt into his. A mess of shiny grey polyester, a salmon pink shirt and a pale yellow tie topped off with a ridiculous quiff, Ricky takes the Vegas cool look and turns the contrast up to eye-fucking levels. He even manages to blow a guaranteed shag by appearing from his hotel room bathroom wearing the world's shortest kimono. His unique style is made all the more ridiculous by his unfaltering belief that he's among the elite of New York's mobsters, the goofy smile and macho posturing practically ensuring a cap in the skull should he ever meet a real gangster. His face bears the scars of a thousand beatings at the hands of his best buddy.

Asshole behaviour How long have you got? Persistently annoying a female flight attendant, before hitting on her in a most unsubtle manner is a good start ("I want you to take it back to the business class, I want you to round up a couple of honeys... we're gonna have kind of a pool party. California gangster-style, you know what I mean?"). Ricky shows his cool by lighting a cigarette from a whole box of matches, setting off a huge forest fire in the process. What else? Starting a ruck outside a club when the bouncer won't let him in, but is happy to accommodate Screech from Saved By The Bell. Tipping each and every person who happens to offer him a service from the moment he touches down at JFK, and failing to do even that properly ("I've only got a 100 buck note, bring back 80 in change"). Unleashing a constant stream of profanity that would make even the most foul-mouthed hookers blush. Being unable to get his head around the ancient art of Pig Latin. I could go on. Crucially, just when it seems Ricky has redeemed himself and saved the day by turning up 'strapped' when some local hoodlums sabotage the money drop, his gun is revealed to be nothing more than a starter pistol. Ricky claims he made it look that way intentionally, because he is smart. We know better. The high-rolling, big pimpin' Ricky Slade couldn't even get hold of a gun in New York City.

Typical dialogue [While tipping a waitress] "Here's 50 bucks, take this in case I get drunk and call you a bitch later."

So just how big a jerk is Ricky Slade? There must be some reason a big guy like Bobby sticks with the lunkhead after all these years. Underneath the goofy smile, misguided patois and the ridiculous haircut is a guy who really cares, and by the movie's conclusion, he's found his role as the mother to Bobby's surrogate kid. So which is he? Misunderstood gangster wannabe? Loving parent? Motormouth wiseguy? Peter Falk's crime lord says it best. "I don't like you. You're an asshole!" It's a label he wears better than that cheap grey suit of his.

Overall Asshole Rating: 84%

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