"Not up there with Get Shorty, but it does have its moments"
It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the release of Get Shorty. It was released on the wave of John Travolta’s Pulp Fiction resurrection and was a hip, tightly directed, crime comedy flick with a talented all star line up. Can the magic work again? Well, yes and no…but at least they waited until a sequel to the book was written before making this movie.Chili Palmer (John Travolta) has grown tired and disheartened with the movie industry since we saw him in Get Shorty. An opportunity for change literally lands in his lap when the owner of a gangsta rap record label, Tommy Athens (James Woods) is gunned down by the Russian mafia whilst the two are having lunch together. Without wasting any time Chili visits Edie (Uma Thurman), Tommy’s widow, to offer his assistance with the struggling label. They soon discover that financially, the label is in a lot of trouble and owes $300000 to producer Sin Lasille (Cedric the Entertainer) who is a family man one minute and a violent gun toting gangster the next. Rather than wasting Edie and Chili without a chance of getting the money back, Chili convinces Sin to give them three days to come up with the cash.
On a visit to the Viper Room, Chili discovers the vocal talents of Linda Moon, a struggling young artist whom he believes he can help by making her a star which, in turn, would save the record label and his life. The only catch is that Linda is tied to a contract with a crooked record label run by Nick (Harvey Keitel) who is not going to let her go too easily. Linda is also managed by Raj (Vince Vaughn), a man who seems to think that he is black on the inside in the way that he dresses and talks. Nick assigns Raj and his gay bodyguard (The Rock) to do away with Chili for the insult that is his persistent attempts to steal Linda from them. The Russian mafia are also on Chili’s trail for being a star witness in the murder of Tommy Athens. It now seems that everyone wants Chili dead.
Be Cool does suffer by having too much going on at once and tends to get a little messy as a result. It ends up coming across like a series of sketch comedy routines where some of it works and some of it does not. There are some genuinely funny moments particularly from Vaugn’s jive-talkin’ Raj and The Rock hamming it up in a performance of ‘Ain’t Woman Enough’ by Loretta Lynn. Andre 3000 also delivers some moments of hilarity as a sensitive new age gangster in Sin Lasille’s posse. But there are some overlong and mundane scenes such as the nostalgic homage to Pulp Fiction, with a dance between Travolta and Thurman, which tend to distract from the flow of what could have been a much better movie. On the positive front there are no faults with any of the acting and the chemistry between Travolta and Thurman is as fervent as it was back when they last appeared on screen together 1994.There is no doubt that the cast would have had a ball making this which is evident from some behind-the-scenes dancing shown as the credits roll and for a star laden movie it is still miles ahead of Ocean’s 12. Sequels rarely surpass the originals so if one casts expectations aside and forgets how good Get Shorty was then there is still a lot of fun to be had in Be Cool but ultimately it remains a fairly forgettable experience.