Movie Reviews: Be Cool




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     John Travolta returns as Chili Palmer in this sequel to the 1995 smash comedy Get Shorty.
     John Travolta, Uma Thurman, The Rock, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, André
Benjamin, Christina Milian and Harvey Keitel
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

"Be Cool," the long-delayed sequel to "Get Shorty" doesn’t quite match up to its predecessor but it does offer some very amusing moments. Travolta is back as Chili Palmer, the former loan shark, cum movie director and now wannabe music producer trying to produce a young singer by the name of Linda Moon (Milian). The only hitch? She’s part of a female group called ‘The Chicks’ and has a contract with Raji (Vaughn), an over-the-top, fast-talking white guy with urban affections who desperately wants to be respected on ‘da streets.’ In an attempt to nab Moon a record deal, Palmer partners with the recently widowed record exec Edie Athens (Thurman), whose late husband owed $300,000 to Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer), a Wharton-educated thuggish music producer who’s not afraid to use muscle or metal to further his aims. LaSalle wants his money by ‘any means necessary’ and an angry Raji wants Moon back. Throw in the Russian mob – Chili’s old cronies, Sin’s rap posse the Dub MDs, The Rock who plays Raji’s soft-talking gay bodyguard and a couple more eccentric characters and "Be Cool" has the formula for a super hilarious comedy – only it isn’t quite that.

For starters, this movie has an overly complicated plot with too many things going on at one time. It’s far too similar to its prequel with exactly the same occurrences and encounters, which although might work for newcomers doesn’t work for fans who enjoyed the original and yearn for something more. The exchanges are not as quirky, some scenes are choppy and unnecessary and others long and arduous. The one thing it has going for it are the cast of characters. There’s the Russian gunman with the permanent black eye that steadies his toupee with one hand whilst he shoots with the other. Elliott, (The Rock) the brawny tough-guy who desperately wants to be an actor and Dabu, (Andre 3000) the trigger-happy rapper from the Dub MDs who resembles 'O-Dog' from "Menace to Society." Each character is unique, unusual, endearing and unforgettable.

Humor wise, there is plenty of potential in many scenes, but it’s never fully or satisfactorily executed. Cedric's schooling on the use of a racial slur is worthwhile to watch and he has one of the film’s best lines: When he is about to shoot somebody, he says, ‘And don’t tell me to be cool. I am cool.’



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