Preview by: Jack Foley
HARD to believe, but it's been ten years since John Travolta
first delighted audiences with his portrayal of smooth-talking
mobster, Chili Palmer, in Get Shorty, so it's with some trepidation
that we find him reprising the role for the sequel, Be Cool.
Based on another book by Elmore Leonard, the sequel finds the
loan-shark turned movie-producer tiring of Hollywood and setting
his sights on the music industry instead, in a desperate search
for new film ideas.
Always one to seize a good business opportunity, Palmer hooks
up with the recently-widowed Edie (Uma Thurman), setting himself
up as a business partner at her independent record label and taking
on a promising new pop star, in the form of Christina Milian.
But the path to musical success is as tricky to negotiate as
getting a film made, as Palmer has to juggle Milian's urban manager,
Vince Vaughn, with her gay, wannabe-actor bodyguard (The Rock),
more Russian mobsters and a gangsta music producer, played by
Cedric the Entertainer, as well as dodging his own bullet.
All the components are in place for
another feel-good blast of gangster-cool, but for all of the plus
points, there are also some negatives. Original director, Barry
Sonenfeld, has not returned, while notable co-stars, Rene Russo
and Gene Hackman, are not among the main players.
Replacing them, instead, is F Gary Gray, in the director's chair,
and the likes of Thurman and The Rock. A strong support cast is,
however, rounded out by returning cast members Danny DeVito and
Harvey Keitel, as well as another notable figure from the music
industry, OutKast's Andre 3000.
And the trailer suggests a lot of fun, with The Rock, especially,
guaranteed to generate some big laughs courtesy of his camp performance
and over-sized Afro wig, and Travolta back to his smooth-talking
best. There is even a photo of Travolta and Thurman back
on the dancefloor, in reference to their memorable sequence
in Pulp Fiction, to keep
the genuine movie buffs enthralled.
But given the mix of pop stars and actors, there is obvious cause
for concern, not to mention the length of time it has taken to
get the sequel in the works.
Be Cool isn't due until March in the US, but it's certainly one
to keep an eye on as the countdown to the spring/summer blockbuster
season begins. While it probably won't give the super-cool criminals
of Ocean's 12 much cause for
concern, it should still be hip enough to draw its own fair share
of the box office.