Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Be Cool, Be Very Cool - Making
of documentary. Deleted scenes. Gag reel. Music video: The Rock
as Elliot Wilhelm. Close-up: Dance sequence. Close-up: The Rock.
Close-up: Andre 3000. Close-up: Cedric the Entertainer. Close-up:
IT'S been ten years since John Travolta's ex-shylock, Chili Palmer,
first turned movie producer and impressed audiences with his ultra-smooth
antics in Get Shorty.
Yet while Palmer (as portrayed by Travolta) remains as sophisticated
as ever in the belated sequel, Be Cool, several of his running
partners prove quite difficult to warm to.
The film is so over-populated with characters (many of whom don't
need to be there) that it frequently feels disjointed and incoherent,
thereby undermining the overall enjoyment.
The story is once again based on a novel by Elmore Leonard and
finds Travolta's Palmer growing tired of the film industry and
moving into music, haivng been blown away by the performance of
Christina Milian's Linda Moon after catching one of her live shows.
Moon, however, is tied into a contract with Harvey Keitel's low-rent
producer, Nick Carr, whose own assistant, Raji (Vince Vaughn),
has mis-managed her career to such an extent that she is forced
to churn out cheesy cover versions on the promise of achieving
So when Palmer offers her a way out, using the assistance of
Uma Thurman's recently-widowed record label owner, Edie Athens,
she leaps at the chance, thereby provoking the wrath of Carr and
Raji, as well as their gay bodyguard, Elliot (The Rock).
Thrown into this mix is Cedric The Entertainer's rival producer,
Sin LaSalle, who has unfinished business with Edie and her late
husband (James Woods), and who finds himself subsequently crossing
paths with Palmer.
Not to mention a group of wig-wearing
Russian mafia heavies, who also mark Palmer out as a potential
It's little wonder, given the numerous facets of the story, that
proceedings frequently become bogged down by sub-plots that frequently
feel tedious and unnecessary.
Indeed, if Ocean's 12 was accused
of being too smug for its own good by some, then Be Cool takes
it to the next level, featuring cameos from just about everyone
who must have been available while filming - from Aerosmith's
Steven Tyler, to OutKast's Andre 3000, right down to Get Shorty's
It's a terrific ensemble, for sure, but director, F Gary Gray,
has trouble balancing it all out, to the obvious detriment of
When it works, however, Be Cool has an easy-going charm that's
impossible not to like, especially when seeing Travolta reunited
on the dancefloor with Thurman, or watching The Rock 'mince' about
as a gay, star-struck bodyguard.
Vaughn, too, is clearly having fun playing against type as a
white man who thinks he is black, while Andre 3000 generates plenty
of chuckles as a gun-obsessed rapper with incredibly bad personal
Yet for every hit comes a miss, with the Russian sub-plot and
Milian's lightweight presence merely serving to drag out proceedings
far longer than necessary.
Several of the performances also feel awkward and embarrassing,
with Keitel, especially, looking ill at ease when jive talking,
and Tyler proving way out of his depth despite the fact he is
The result is a movie that will have you laughing and yawning
in equal measure and which falls some way short of the cool vibe
that surrounded Get Shorty.