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Be Cool (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

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: Christina Milian.

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 greater things.

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 target.

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 Danny DeVito.

It's a terrific ensemble, for sure, but director, F Gary Gray, has trouble balancing it all out, to the obvious detriment of proceedings.

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 habits.

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 playing himself!

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.

Click here to find out more about Be Cool

 

 

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