Travolta's "cool" comeback

March 7, 2005, midnight | By Christopher Consolino | 16 years, 10 months ago

"Get Shorty" sequel just as good as the original

After being a Miami loan shark and Hollywood movie producer, Chili Palmer (John Travolta) has decided that neither of his previous occupations suited him. On the prowl for a new career, he settles on the music business after hearing the R&B sounds of Linda Moon (Christina Milian). Declaring that Moon's previous contract with the notorious record producer Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) is void, Palmer teams up with Edie Athens (Uma Thurman), the widow of another record producer, to send Moon to the top of the charts. Now just add an Ivy League-educated gangster-rap producer (Cedric the Entertainer), a white band manager who thinks he is a hustler (Vince Vaughn), a homosexual bodyguard (The Rock), the Russian Mafia and viola! You get a sequel to the cool 1995 film "Get Shorty."

Obviously, irony is one of the predominant themes throughout the film. Every one of the characters packed into the plot is a ridiculed stereotype. Most notable is Vaughn's strangely amusing slang dialogue riddled with clichés, misplaced modifiers and plenty of sentence fragments. Coupled with The Rock's equally amusing gay bodyguard routine as he desperately attempts to break into the movie business, both Vaughn and The Rock provide some cheap and hackneyed laughs.Luckily, Travolta brings his friendly loan-shark attitude to the sequel along with some of the more successful jokes from "Get Shorty" as he attempts to pass off his Honda, gas-electric hybrid as the Cadillac of eco-friendly cars. Soon after introducing his new ride, it becomes a little too evident that product placement took a predominant role in pre-production. Director Gary Grey also pulled out some old material from "Get Shorty," as Athens' financial negotiations with Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer) are noticeably similar to those between Gene Hackman and the limo drivers in the original.

Unfortunately, like many flicks with an all A-list cast, "Be Cool" became a little cluttered with cameos of famous actors, leaving some obvious plot holes. Still, "Be Cool" pulls itself together, with Travolta appearing to be the only truly sane character. The once-amusing jokes also begin to wear themselves out as the story progresses.

Director of Cinematography Jeffery Kimball did manage to keep the movie from breaking down, however, by giving "Be Cool" the same finesse and intrigue of "Get Shorty." Although by no means spectacular with regard to choreography, Kimball managed to make a long dance scene featuring Thurman and Travolta moving to the music of the Black Eyed Peas interesting. It was truly was Kimball's superior understanding of the rules of cinematography along with Grey's interesting direction that allowed the film to flow from scene to scene almost flawlessly.

Although "Be Cool" may not be the cinematic masterpiece of the year, it manages to provide cheap laughs and hilarious stereotypes without falling apart after the first repeated joke. As far as films with plenty of A-listers go, "Be Cool" is a comic sequel to a classic movie that not only subtly plays off the original but could, in some respects, stand alone as a comedy worth seeing.

"Be Cool" (114 minutes) is rated PG-13 for violence, sensuality and sexual references and is now playing everywhere.

Last updated: May 6, 2021, 11:33 p.m.

Tags: print

Christopher Consolino. Christopher Consolino is a senior in Communication Arts Program. If Chris had free time, he would spend it practicing piano and taking pictures with his 15 year-old Minolta. He would also like to stress how much better wet process photography is than digital. Most of … More »

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