REVIEW: BE COOL

CAST

John Travolta (The Punisher)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers)
Cedric The Entertainer (Ice Age)
André Benjamin (Revolver)
Christina Milian (Smallville)
Debi Mazar (Batman Forever)
Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs)
Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Anna Nicole Smith (To The Limit)
Minae Noji (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries)
Seth Green (Family Guy)

F. Gary Gray’s follow up to Barry Sonnenfeld’s excellent Get Shorty comes in the form of another Elmore Leonard adaptation, Be Cool. Continuing the story of Chili Palmer, Gray’s film lacks much of the black humor and slick charm of the first film but still manages to be good for a few laughs.  Picking up shortly after the events in Get Shorty we find Chili Palmer (John Travolta once again) getting tired of the Hollywood machine. After working at film production for a while now, he’s grown tired of it all and is looking for something new to try his hand at. Where do all successful Hollywood types go when they want a change? Just ask Don Johnson and Eddie Murphy, they’ll tell you what I’m telling you know – they head for the recording studio. Knowing his skills lay in the behind the scenes type of roles, Chili decides to head on into the music business as a producer. It seems his good friend Tommy Athens (James Woods) was mowed down and his widow, the sultry Edie Athens (Uma Thurman) needs some help with the family business. Chili steps in, hilarity ensues.Before Tommy died, he’d told Chili about a hot up and coming act named Linda Moon (Christina Milian) and Chili figures that getting her signed would be a nice way to start things off in his new profession. Unfortunately for Chili, an equally sleazy music executive named Raji (Vince Vaughn) has got his eyes on Ms. Moon too. Raji, along with his homosexual bodyguard Elliot (The Rock) and his business partner Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) aren’t too keen on Chili getting to Ms. Moon before they do and a bit of a race ensues. To complicate things a little more for everyone’s favorite former goombah, it seems that before Tommy was killed he was a little mixed up in some dealings with the Russian mafia, who are now looking to Chili to get things handled. If that weren’t enough to deal with on its own, a prominent rap music producer named Sin LaSelle (Cedric The Entertainer) is out to cause Chili a few problems of his own, and his hip hop happening posse called the Dub MD’s, lead by Dabu (Andre 3000 a.k.a. Andre Benjamin from Outkast) are on hand to make sure he gets his way. Just when it looks like all is lost, Edie pulls a rabbit out of a hat when it turns out that she has some ties to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith (playing himself) who, after a chance run in at a Lakers game, decides to lend his considerable lip service to Chili and Edie’s cause and help out an old friend.There are some very funny moments in the film, most of which, oddly enough, come courtesy of The Rock,. Travolta is still good in the lead and his fans will enjoy seeing him reprise his dance moves from Pulp Fiction where he once again cuts a rug with Uma Thurman. Speaking of Uma, she looks great in this movie and is seductive enough and smart enough to be pretty sexy in spots yet she’s still able to remain believable in her role. She and Travolta do have a certain on screen chemistry that, while not as strong as it was in Tarantino’s Oscar winner, does rise Be Cool up a notch or two.

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