Be Cool


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" ain't philosophy, it's Elmore Leonard."










Be Cool
The Masked Reviewer

John Travolta and Uma Thurman are reunited in this sequel to Get Shorty, and an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel, Be Cool.

The easiest way to review this film is in regards to Get Shorty.  If you've seen it and you liked it, there's a good chance you'll like Be Cool, too.  If you saw Get Shorty and you hated it or didn't really care, there's a very good chance you won't like Be Cool either.  It's arguably not as good as Get Shorty, so just because you liked Get Shorty, there's no guarantee that you'll like Be Cool.

If you haven't seen Get Shorty, here's what you need to know.  John Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a shylock who goes to Hollywood and uses his shylocking skills to become a big time film producer.

In this movie, John Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a shylock who lives in Hollywood and has tired of the movie industry, so he uses his shylocking skills to become a big time record producer.  So, you see, it's totally different.

Now, some of you may not know what a shylock is.  If you don't, you may be confused because they use that term more in this film than you've probably ever heard it used in your life.  It's a loan shark, a collector of debts; in this case, he's hired muscle that roughs people up who don't pay.  So, he's a tough guy.

There's no doubt about it: John Travolta is cool.  He's surrounded by an interesting cast of characters, including Vince Vaughn as an oafish record executive, Uma Thurman as a sexy record executive, Harvey Keitel as a slick record executive, The Rock as a gay bodyguard for a record executive, Cedric the Entertainer as a wannabe thug record executive, and James Woods as an unlucky record executive.  Aside from a number of cameos, there's also Christina Milian who plays a recording artist (they can't all be record executives, can they?)

Everyone has their funny moments in the movie.  John Travolta has the same shtick that he had in the first film, and he does it over and over again.  In fact, his character kind of fades into the background.  The most noteworthy performances come from Vince Vaughn and The Rock.

Noteworthy isn't necessarily good.  Vince Vaughn is funny, even though he's way over the top.  The Rock gives his funniest performance to date, although some might find his caricatures of homosexuals to be a bit offensive (at worst) and predictable and overdone (at best).  Still, he does a decent job of getting laughs in a comedy, which isn't an easy feat for someone known for his dramatic roles.

Cedric the Entertainer gets a few laughs, as does his sidekick, played by Andre 3000 (which isn't a NASCAR event, FYI).  There are a few items in the movie that some might find intellectually disturbing, but ain't philosophy, it's Elmore Leonard.

This paragraph could potentially spoil something for you, unless you've seen ANY ad or trailer for the film, or heard anything about it at all.  If not, then you might want to skip the rest.  The promotion of the film seems to center around a dance scene between Uma Thurman and John Travolta.  Clips of it are everywhere, and it's a long scene in the movie.  You know, Pulp Fiction featured them dancing and it was a big hit because John Travolta hadn't danced in a movie in years (not since Perfect, probably).  It was nice and sentimental and cool  This scene, however, is over-hyped and kind of lame and doesn't really have anything to do with anything, other than making John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance again.  It's not cool or sexy or interesting, it drags on, and it's been done before.  Someone involved in the production was sure this would be a great "hook" for audiences, but it falls flat.  Obviously someone thinks it's great, because the end credits feature everyone in the cast and crew doing their own little dances; they're supposed to look impromptu (showing how much fun everyone had) but they all looked staged and forced.  In short, everything that was good with the dance scene in Pulp Fiction falls flat in Be Cool.

And another thing...there's an awful lot of singing in this.  There are a few featured songs by Christina Milian; if you love her singing, you'll like Be Cool because she does a lot of it.  Three or four songs.  Sure, it's about the record biz, but at times it's like watching an MTV video, and unlike MTV, if you don't like the music video, you can't change channels in a movie theater (although, that's a good idea).

It has amusing moments and a good supporting cast, but it's still not a very good movie.  If you're a huge fan of Get Shorty, or you really like the music of Christina Milian, or you can't get enough of The Rock or Vince Vaughn, it might be worth checking out, but at best it's just "all right."


Expectation from the Title: An instructional video about what it takes to become a successful snowman.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  There's a lot of charming people in this movie.

The Pros: Funny performances, charming actors.

The Cons: Seems re-hashed.  John Travolta disappears into the scenery.  Some potentially offensive bits to some people, some potentially boring bits to others.  No terribly memorable moments, a bit too much singing.

Looking for John Travlota  or Uma Therman or Uma Thurmann or The Rcok or Vince Vaun or Vince Vaugn?  Read on!

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