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The book was
UrbanFilmCritic6 March 2005
In the sequel to 1995's 'Get Shorty,' John Travolta is all swagger and one-liners, reprising his role as shylock/movie producer Chili Palmer. This time around, Chili abandons the fickle film industry for the ever-so-stable world of music, in an effort to discover the next big pop sensation and thus save the beautiful Edie's (Uma Thurman) ailing indie record label. When Chili takes a promising young singer (Christina Milian) under his wing, however, he finds himself in hot water with a wannabe gangsta/mogul (Vince Vaughn), a gay bodyguard (The Rock), and a slew of Russian mobsters. With a bounty on his head and time running out, Chili realizes there's only one way to come out on top: 'Be Cool.'

This was a comedy. And with comedy you allow for the nonsense. The nonsense makes us laugh. However, the comedy in this movie was clichéd. There was a white guy acting black, a gay aspiring actor, shady record producers and homicidal rappers. Of course John Travolta danced with Uma Thurman. Count the movies John Travolta doesn't dance in. And to boot, Cedric the Entertainer was not funny. It hurts me. The first introduction audiences had to Chili Palmer was unique. But in the sequel, we already knew Chili's cool as ice, no nonsense approach to project management. The only thing we had to look forward to was the immense supporting cast, most of whom were incredibly disappointing. I'm not going to say it was totally unfunny. I laughed. But also, I cried. I cried. It's strictly a numbers game. Put 75 people in the cast and someone is bound to make you laugh. As for the completely insulting product placements, note to Hollywood producers, AUDIENCE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW.

I feel bad now. Then again I don't. I've often said that sequels are never as good as the first. The Godfather II's are the exception, not the rule.
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Get Lost
gregsrants6 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Back in 1995, Barry Sonnenfeld directed a movie that ended up on many critics best of lists by the time the year's recaps were being printed in entertainment publications. The movie was Get Shorty and it gave lead star John Travolta his second big hit in as many years after Pulp Fiction put him back in front of the paparazzi's lenses. Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, the film focused on wise guy Chili Palmer (Travolta) and his attempts to break into the movie business. I, for one, was completely captured by the diverse characters and crisp dialogue of the original. So much so, that when I heard there was going to be a sequel, I seemed to forgo my usual shivering that occurs when a studio tries to rehash what was a good idea over ten years later. The sequel, also based on a novel by Leonard, is this time directed by F. Gary Gray who's Italian Job in 2003 was one of the years highest grossing films. Couple that with the cast now expanding to include Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Cedric the Entertainer, The Rock, Vince Vaughn and James Woods and you have all the makings of a great continuance in the exploits of one of the more interesting characters of the 1990's. This time round we pick up as Chili (Travolta) is leaving the movie business after being disappointed in both himself and the industry for participating in the making of a sequel to his successful first film. Thanks in small part to his friend, Tommy Athens (Woods) and the misfortune of his death, Chili decides to look into the lucrative and dangerous music industry. This first leads to the famous Viper club where Chili meets singing sensation Linda Moon (Christina Milian) who as lead of an upstart trio, can belt out tunes like Whitney Houston (that is, the Whitney before Bobby Brown started bringing home the small packages of sugar). Linda is under contract with Raji (Vaughn) who, with his overly apparent gay bodyguard Elliot Wilhelm (The Rock), plan to ensure Linda fulfills the final five years of her contract even if that means putting Chili on ice. So with Linda's future in the balance, Chili weaves an interesting web which will include a record producer (Thurman), a gangsta sound mixer (Cedric), the Russian mob, the police, Aerosmith's lead singer Steven Tyler and a whole lot of angry gun pointing. Woo-Wheee! That sounds exciting. So why wasn't it? Be Cool tries too hard to, well, be cool. But the result is a film that unlike the original, has no heart and no soul. Be Cool feels instead like it was directed by a Saturday Night Live producer as there are individual scenes or skits that don't string together over a whole movie. Take for example the scene where Travolta and Thurman dance together for the first time since Pulp Fiction, as Black Eyed Peas performs live in the background. The scene is forced and should have ended up on the cutting room floor. Instead, it is coupled between two other needless chapters that do nothing to push the story forwards with any real thrust. The Aerosmith concert, and The Rock's trip to a boot shop are also prime examples of individual moments that don't amount to much of a movie when put together. But those aren't the only issues with the sequel - which could probably be renamed Product Placement with the amount of 2-Ways and Diet Pepsi's that seem to stare at you more intensely than Chili's serious look. The story contains just about every stereotype imaginable and each one has just enough screen time to become slightly offensive or embarrassing. Whether it is the gangsta entourage or the gay muscle guy that has a movie poster of Sylvester Stallone's Rhinestone on the wall, no characters is above offering us anything we haven't seen many times before and in much better films. With the magic all but gone from the first film, we end up with an inferior product that is the second film in the past six months (Ocean's 13 being the other) that cram a bunch of stars onto a marquee only to end up as a movie that no actor would bring to an open audition. Be Cool was a major disappointment. I so wanted it to be the Get Shorty of the new millennium and I ended up with a film where the outtakes must have been a gas, but experience left me with a stinker.
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Get Shorty deserves better
tegucigalpa175 March 2005
Get Shorty was an excellent film. It was funny and had the perfect balance of highly comical acting and a serious plot. Be Cool is like some cheap knock-off trying to pass for a sequel. John Travolta as Chili Palmer seems to have forgotten that he was ever in the mob. He plays it like he's a bored movie exec, rather than a bored movie exec who used to be a Shylock. Uma Thurman, great in nearly every role she's ever played, comes off as strained and confusing. Is she supposed to be ditzy or clever? The chemistry between her and Travolta is strained and uncomfortable. Other than that, just add every movie cliché you can think of. A well-educated rap producer by Cedric the Entertainer, an inept gangster wannabe in Andre 3000, the girl with heart, soul, and a good set of pipes in Christina Milian, a gimmicky black dude wannabe in Vince Vaughn, and a stupid celebrity cameo by Stephen Tyler. The only funny part was the Rock, who invents his own new cliché as a gay Samoan bodyguard actor wannabe. Probably the biggest crime is the plot: IT MAKES NO SENSE. Get Shorty was clever with Chili playing one group against another and coming out on top. But this film tries that with about a million different characters. And even Chili doesn't seem to know what's going on. Fans of Get Shorty be warned: this is a very different, very worse movie.
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It could've been cool.... but it wasn't.
Mr Parker7 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I laughed twice watching this movie and in case you were wondering, I wasn't having a bad day nor was I subjected to anything else that would've skewed my opinion while watching this cinematic bowel movement. This movie is bad. I wanted to enjoy it and I just couldn't. With all of this talent, you'd think this would've been at least watchable, right? Wrong.

Let's play Sucked and Didn't Suck! John Travolta- Very likable. Though obviously buried under too much makeup, I found him to be enjoyable to watch. Didn't suck.

Uma Thurman- After Kill Bill 1 and 2, the girl deserves more than this atrociously written character. This character's big moment was showing someone how to operate a T-Mobile Sidekick. Sucked.

Vince Vaughn- The done to death role of white guy who thinks he's black goes to Vince "Money" Vaughn. Is this character template still considered to be funny? I love the guy but I want to see him in something better than this. It felt like he was slumming. Sucked.

Cedric the Entertainer- This guy is good. He delivers a great monologue after being called a racial slur (you can probably guess as to what it is) that was probably the best part of the movie. He was funny and truly elevated the material he was given just with his presence. Didn't suck.

Harvey Keitel- Sucked due to a phoned in performance.

James Woods- Sucked but not his fault. Actually, yes it was. Reminded me of his role in Casino for some reason. I don't like manic James Woods, I like slow burn James Woods. Victim of bad writing, maybe? Andre 3000- Sucked but he went down swinging. I think he has potential, as long as he's not being directed by a hack on his next picture.

Christina Milian- She's absolutely beautiful and obviously talented but this movie isn't going to make her a star. Didn't suck but needs a better vehicle for her talents that isn't directed by a hack.

The Rock- This should have been the role that catapulted him to movie stardom but as directed by F. Gary Gray, winds up sadly mishandled. In this movie, the Rock projects this charisma that makes him so likable that I wound up feeling sorry for him. He tries really hard and while he doesn't succeed completely, he gets an A+ for effort from me. This guy is not afraid to embarrass himself and go completely against type, playing a gay bodyguard with his eyes on stardom. I really want to see him make it big. He has what it takes as long as he's not being directed by a hack.

Which brings me to what I feel was the weak link in this production. I might as well just come out and say it, right? F. Gary Gray's direction was about as solid as really bad diarrhea. Wow, it was bad. Who had the bright idea of letting this guy direct? The Negotiator was good but what else on his resume convinced people that he was the man for the job? Between his direction and the atrocious writing, I'm willing to chip in for both culprits to get a nice lead salad to the knees. Wanna see John and Uma dance? I might be able to think of another movie with those two that I could recommend watching instead of this. Not worth the ten dollars and fifty cents it cost me to get into the theater.

This movie could've been okay and it wasn't even "just okay".

RATING: * out of *****.

P.S. Fergie from Black Eyed Peas is noteworthy to mention. Sizzling!
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Am I the only one who cringed?
lparker6 April 2005
Having watched Be Cool I feel I wasted my time and money on a huge pile of rubbish! John Travolta had one expression only - bored! Other fine actors like Uma & Harvey acted embarrassed to be seen in such utter tripe! The script was horrible, full of clichés and so NOT funny! I hated how much time was devoted to Christina singing. As a movie lover who always finds something good to see in every film, I was astonished how bad it was and nearly left after the first 30 minutes. I've nothing against the actors, in fact I like their films normally but this was poor acting, bad script in the extreme! Even the dancing scene was poor and unexciting. The Rock was the only likable actor in the whole thing and caused me to smile just a little. I am going to rewatch Get Shortly and remind myself what I liked about John as Chili!
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onepotato222 January 2007
I'm a fan of Get Shorty. This is the sequel for the movie that needed no sequel.

Chili is back but Rene Russo is gone without a peep. Unfortunately Chili's game was played out in the first movie and rather than find an interesting personal arc for him, they just have him stand around repeating lines from the first movie. It's pretty tepid. Travolta looks old here. It's like they move people around him because his bones are getting creaky. His pink lip gloss and the blue eye contacts are very weird. The 2nd bad role is Edie (played by Uma Thurman). She's a music producer, a role that requires her only to be the female Reuben Kincaid. ("Hey these kids have a great new sound.") In any scene she strikes the wrong pitch motivationally or emotionally or both. It's painful to watch. Despite it's plentiful problems, Be Cool gets better after a very unpromising start.

I certainly got my laughs out of it (Vince Vaughan running around on fire, Cedric the Entertainer, Ludicrous, the Rock, a t-shirt that says "widow" on it), but it offers no great memories after it's over. It's a helium-light love fest from the first frame. There's no one as pricelessly idiotic as Gene Hackman in the first movie. It's just about doing good in the world, for a couple of kids who deserve a chance (Beyonce & the Rock). Ho-hum. The first one wasn't preachy.

Working in (repeatedly) gags & lines from the first movie is annoying as is the dumb concession to the Rock's wrestling fans (he raises his eyebrow twice) as are the droll inside jokes: Steven Tyler saying "I'm not the kind of singer that make appearances in movies" ar ar.

The all-star spectacular line-up is part of the problem. The first movie wasn't burdened by "stars."

For a buck rental let's call it even.
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Worth seeing
dmasursky3 March 2005
This is no "Get Shorty" but it's full of so much self-deprecating humor that you can't help but cut it a break. I laughed quite a few times, and there's a lot of fun moments. However, the film is a bit uneven. It's a comedy, but then, how funny is the Russian Mafia? The movie tries hard to find the humor in hit men and quirky characters, but it often seems to be trying a bit too hard. The movie is so crammed with celebrities that it's distracting and the parade of glitterati takes you outside the film more than once. It's less brutal than "Get Shorty" and the language is much milder, but it also lacks the freshness and irreverence that made "Get Shorty" so much fun. As sequels go, it's a pretty good movie, and John Travolta and others in the film are so obviously having a good time, it's impossible not to get into the groove. There are many charming performances, including The Rock and Andre 3000, both showing a real knack for comedy. Definitely worth a visit to the multiplex, as long as you keep your expectations in check.
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Good Movie
Paul68371512 February 2005
I went to a screening of Be Cool today and I have to say it was very entertaining. I haven't seen Get Shorty so I cant really compare the movie to anything but Vince Vaughn and The Rock were laugh out loud funny and Andre 3000 was very good in his first major role. Christina Milian was not really used to her potential as an actress but displayed her ability to sing very well. The other performances from the actors in the movie you would probably expect without any surprise. I still cant get over how funny The Rock was and am extremely pleased thats hes done so well for himself and hope he does more comedies. Overall, its a good movie that should not disappoint too many people.
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"Be Cool" not as hot as "Get Shorty"
view_and_review19 March 2007
The Shylock turned movie mogul is back for a sequel, and this time he is interested in music. The movie industry is just too fake whereas the people in the music industry are real. Chili Palmer, played by John Travolta, has the same antics and same behaviorisms. He is still smarter than the next guy, tougher than him too, and he can beat up your bodyguard.

More characters are introduced in "Be Cool" and they are more outrageous. Actors such as Vince Vaughn, The Rock, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andre, bring some good flavor to the movie. Just like with "Get Shorty", there are other sub-plots that all tie together into the main plot and main character. The movie has more-or-less a similar theme and flow to it as "Get Shorty". I think there were a few more funny parts in "Be Cool", but it lacked the originality of "Get Shorty."

I noticed that there was a different director for this project. His resume' isn't that long, but he has done "Friday", "The Negotiator","The Italian Job", and he is on "The Brazilian Job" project. These weren't that bad, nor was "Be Cool". If he continues to improve from here, he will wind up with a very nice career.
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Elmore Leonard deserves better
jotix1007 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When we last saw Chili Palmer, he was on his way to a great movie career. As this film opens, Chili, has a change of heart when he listens to a young, and talented singer, who is performing at the Viper Clup in L.A. He loves her style, so he decides to take the girl under his wing, even though she is still under contract to Nick Carr, a well connected mobster.

That's the basic premise of the film, which Peter Steinfeld adapted from the original Elmore Leonard novel of the same title. It doesn't help an uninspired director, F. Gary Gray, is at the helm for this film that is clearly a sequel of "Get Shorty", a much better film than this mess.

Elmore Leonard's novels are filled with interesting characters from the underworld. As seen in better adaptations of his books, some of those guys have been given life by, among others, Samuel L. Jackson, who has made the most out of those foolish mobsters.

Even John Travolta, who repeats his role of Chili Palmer is not as effective as in the previous film. In fact, his character doesn't resonate with most of the viewers. Uma Thurman, a beautiful woman, is not at her best either. The most obnoxious characters in the film are played by Vince Vaughn and Andre Benjamin, who clearly appears to take an urgent trip to an acting coach to help him if he wants to stay in movies. Mr. Vaughn is not funny as Raji, who acts "black" without having a clue of how to go about it. Cedric the Entertainer and Harvey Keitel are seen in minor parts.

This film should have been titled "Be Heavy"
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Somewhat entertaining even if it's not very memorable
christian12311 June 2005
John Travolta reprises his role as Chili Palmer, Hollywood gangster, who now turns his eye to the music business. Using his "negotiation skills," he tries to run an independent record label with the wife of a murdered friend, played by Uma Thurman, and try to get his young singer (Christina Milian) a hit record.

Before I saw this sequel, I had heard that it was a terrible film. However, Be Cool is still an enjoyable comedy even if it's not as good as the original. The movie focuses on the music industry this time around instead of the movie industry. The music business is portrayed very poorly in the movie and they use a bunch of lame stereotypes. I can't tell if this was the intention or not since Get Shorty did a nice job of spoofing the movie industry. The same can't be said for the sequel and the attempts just come as lazy.

An impressive cast is what saves the movie from sinking. The best performance is given by The Rock and it's nice to see him in a different type of role. Vince Vaughn also gives a funny performance though he started to get annoying before the end. Surprisingly, Uma Thurman gives an average performance and I was expecting more from her. John Travolta returns as Chili and he does an okay job. His performance is kind of dull though. Christina Milian gives a horrible performance and she's also not that good of a singer. Cedric the Entertainer gives a good performance though he isn't in the film for very long. There are also a bunch of cameos including Steven Tyler and James Wood.

F. Gary Gray directs and he does a poor job. He just doesn't handle the film very well and the movie is kind of a mess. There was also a ton of product placement and it got annoying after awhile. Also at 118 minutes, the film is too long and there are a lot of slow spots. The film needed to be edited badly and it clearly wasn't. Fortunately for the film, the actors are able to rise above the weak direction and script and they deliver some funny scenes. Sometimes, the film tried too hard while other times it was actually pretty funny. Compared to the original, the sequel doesn't measure up well. However, Be Cool is a fairly harmless and forgettable comedy. In the end, Be Cool is worth a rental and that's it. Rating 6/10
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Still can't shake the depression
mmwilde7 March 2005
I saw a 12:45 a.m. show last night, and I would've walked out 20 min. in, but there was nowhere to go! Blatant product placement, juvenile script, so much talent gone to waste, gay-bashing...what didn't they do? The movie is also insanely long (we got out at 3). As a person who rarely pays full price at the movies, imagine my chagrin doling out $22 for this self-indulgent, mean-spirited nightmare (plus $2 parking). I woke up today still feeling depressed, and haven't been able to shake it all day. I love Vince Vaughn, and he seemed straight up lost in this thing, as was I. When Cedric the Entertainer is the high-water mark (a man so un-entertaining that he has to call himself "the Entertainer" so you'll understand what it is he thinks he's doing), you have a serious problem. Also, the appearance of Robert Pastorelli is down-right creepy, since he died almost a year ago (March 10). This should give you an idea how long they've been polishing this turd. This movie is mean to the bitter end. We stayed just to make sure they didn't give Robert an "In Remembrance", which they didn't. Save yourself! Save your money! Save your soul!
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Possibly the biggest waste of talent ever in American film history
anthony_olson7 March 2005
If there were a zero to give I would give it. This may very well have been the only movie I have ever walked out of in my life, and I see at least two movies a week.

Who would think that an Elmore Leonard film with Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Keitel, James Woods, Andre 3000 etc. etc. could possibly suck so bad? Letting them sit in a room and have a conversation would have been more entertaining. The Rock was actually the best part of the movie, and considering the pedigree of the above actors that makes it even sadder. This movie was utterly painful. Travolta was not slightly tough. The music was so stunningly bad it defies description. Remember that song by Asian dude from American idol that couldn't sing? That was significantly better than the songs in this film. This film should be burned and the director tarred and feathered and dragged down Sunset Strip. Travolta please, please take your head out of your ass and make a good movie. You've done it before.
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Huge Disappointment
shaggyshortlegs5 March 2005
The first 10 minutes of the movie makes fun of sequels and pg-13 movies. These are the 2 reasons the movie is so bad. They constantly reference a movie called "Get Leo" which is the movie-in-a-movie version of get shorty. Every time they do this, you will be really angry. Travolta isn't very cool, neither is Keitel. However, The Rock and Vince Vaughn are hilarious. They aren't the kind of funny you would expect to see in an Elmore Leonard movie though. If you haven't seen get shorty, you will probably like be cool. If you liked get shorty, you will leave the theater wanting to kill the director and screenwriter. Wait for the DVD.
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Rent The Adventures of Ford Fairlane instead
the_Poppuns4 March 2005
That movie while slightly flawed was entirely entertaining. About half an hour into Be Cool, I started to have Hollywood Homicide flashbacks. But guess what? This is worse. Even the dance number is bad. I like most of the cast in this movie, so that makes me feel bad about writing a negative review of it but I feel obligated. The Rock, Andre 3000, and Vince Vaughn were in a comedy. No one else seemed to decide what movie genre they were acting in. I feel bad for Travolta because he brought the same Chili Palmer from Get Shorty to this movie. He was totally consistent in the role, but this movie is so different from the original that the character sticks out like a sore thumb. I was going to give this movie 4/10 because I like the actors so much but there is a conversation in the movie about a certain song that is so asinine I couldn't believe the performers actually said it. If you want to go to the movies this weekend there should still be some Oscar contenders out there. That would be a much better way to spend your time.
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What a mess.
whoffleck5 March 2005
Sometimes when I hear an A-list cast will be bunched up together for 2 hours in a movie I hope, and pray that it is good, not for the sake of my 10 bucks or 2 hours, but for the sake of these actors' careers. In the case of "Be Cool", everything went to waste.

In the beginning of the film John Travolta (aka Chili Palmer) and a music executive played by James Woods are driving in a car talking about movie sequels, and how most aren't good. If you look passed the fact that this scene was shot the same way Quentin Tarrantino filmed his car scene in "Pulp Fiction", and listen to the dialogue you can't help but ponder whether this is 1) a disclaimer to the audience that this movie is going to suck, or 2) an attempt to get the audience laughing at the sheer humor of 2 people talking about sequels in a sequel. Oh the irony! (In case you were wondering, choice 1 is correct.) The cool and slick Chili Palmer from the first and good film "Get Shorty" is revived to play a mobster gone music business pro. He steals a young hot singer (Christina Milian) from her ghetto pimped out Jewish manager (Vince Vaughn), and turns her into a singing sensation. Of course a movie about an ex-mobster can never be complete without new mobsters causing havoc. This time around the mobsters of choice are Russian, played by American actors who cannot act Russian if my entire family hit them upside the head with their Russian bare hands.

As a Russian I wasn't so much offended by the way this film portrayed Russians, but instead as a writer I was more offended by the horrible dialogue. This film tried too hard to get the audience to laugh. It turned potentially good lines into a redundancy. The Russian, black, and gay jokes were the same ones only reworded a couple of hundred times. After calling The Rock's character a f***** (he plays a gay bodyguard to Vince Vaughn), and Cedric the Entertainerer's character a n***** (he played a black rapper with an entourage who threaten those who don't play his tracks with guns) I wanted to walk out of the movie theater, because it was painful to sit through. If this was "Get Shorty" none of this would've even needed to be in the film to build up drama, or a really bad laugh.

What lacked in this film that didn't in "Get Shorty" was Chili's hot spicey attitude. He's a completely different person in this sequel. For one thing the old Chili would've had more dialogue. John Travolta doesn't have more than 20 speaking lines in "Be Cool", because he is out staged by the repetitive lines, and the hundred and two cameo appearances by the most random celebrities. I won't ruin the shock by revealing all of the cameos for those who actually plan to see this movie (PLEASE DON'T!!!), but I will say that it will forever amaze me that these people agreed to be in a film of such inanity.

What was even more stupid was the very lame dance sequence with Travolta and Uma Thurman (she plays the widower of James Woods who LUCKILY gets killed in the first 10 minutes of the movie). Tarrantino never made Pulp Fiction for an idiot like the director of "Be Cool" to mess around with. This dance number was boring, long, and just plain throbbing. The Black Eyed Peas playing in the club with a total of 10 people didn't make the scene any memorable.

There were so many plot holes that I left the theater asking myself WHY?! Everything about this film was a big question mark. I just didn't understand the point to anything. I couldn't even explain to you why the Russians were after everyone, or why this film was ever made, because I'm baffled. All I took out of this movie was that everyone in L.A. has a sidekick, and the only way this movie was probably funded was through all of the advertisements by Diet Coke, Yahoo!, Honda Insight Hybrid, T-Mobile, Trimspa (even the spokeswoman herself is in the movie) and the Bad Screenwriters Guild. Plot holes, stupid dialogue, too many random cameos, horrible acting (even by the pros), and a not-so-entertaining attempt to mimic "Pulp Fiction" makes this film the worst movie of 2005, and it's only the third month of the year.
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Contemporary comedy
sirchee20041 March 2005
I saw a prescreening of the movie today, and it did not let me down. At first the comedy was slow, but it picked up quickly. If you don't expect "loud" humor, then you will be pleased. Overall a very entertaining movie that has many modern references to it. There were parts where it was comedic gold with the Rock and Vince Vaughn, and a few other good moments. One of those movies with many many cameos, and they seemed to work very well. The plot is decent, but what really sets it apart is its not so subtle poking fun of itself. If you liked Get Shorty, you'll probably like this one. I don't know how funny this movie will be in a couple of years, it is a comedy of the moment, albeit an extremely humorous one.
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Hmmm. Bad.
colinlighting7 March 2005
Within the first 3 minutes of this film, I knew I was going to hate it. The only credit I can give it is going far beyond my expectations of that hatred.

I find that there are absolutely no redeeming qualities about this film. It is two hours worth of nothing happening. I think more happened in that Aviator movie even when nothing was happening in it. All I gathered from this film was that the key to success is buying a T-mobile phone and drinking diet pepsi. If I wanted to spend $10 watching coked out "rock" musicians try their last "hurrah"... I could go see Whitesnake, right here in town. In Get Shorty (Dare I mention that film here) the characters actually had.. well, character and fresh dialog. In this steaming coil of cinema, they have, well.. The same dialog (sans character).

As far as the acting is concerned I whole heartedly believe that no one in this film was trying. John Travolta the forlorn star of days past reduced himself to playing a lesser version of a character played by a real actor decades ago. Uma Thurman (who dazzled us all a while back)was obviously reading her terrible candy machine dialog off of the back of her large check. But to her credit she didn't have much to do what with there being no plot and all. Aside from the two leads I think the rest of the ensemble did a "bang up" job with the amazing screenplay courtesy of Peter 'Euripides' Steindfeld of 'Analyze That' fame (masterpiece).

Get Shorty had 2 things that made it above the rest: Barry Sonnenfeld and Elmore Leonard. As far as directing goes, all I can say is... F. Gary Fu**ing Gray!!!! C'mon! In summary, If I had the intent of watching two hours of bad music and mind numbing commercialism, I would have stayed home and watched MTV. Avoid this film at all costs.
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so, so bad....
y2pete4 March 2005
I'm still looking for this movie's redeeming qualities. Anything. I'm sure this will irk some people, I know because of the token people laughing in the theater... they're just simpletons. I knew what i was getting myself into, but i at least expected a few "cool" scenes, and there was none to be found. Two terrible things that can't be ignored--self referential humor (i.e. to actor's previous movies, including a scene that mocks the watusi-dancing scene in Pulp Fiction, and with the same actors), and product placement that may be outdone only be Josie and the Pussycats in recent memory. Yes, I saw Josie and the Pussycats. Worst movie of the year thus far, but I know it'll be tops at the box office. This is coming from someone who'd give Get Shorty a 7.5.
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A bona fide contender for the worst film of 2005
anhedonia26 March 2005
The first film was good, record producer Tommy Athens (James Woods) tells Chili Palmer (John Travolta) in the opening minutes of "Be Cool." Sequels stink, they're merely made for corporate profit, Chili adds.

Tommy and Chili, of course, refer to "Get Leo" the film Chili helped produce in "Get Shorty" (1995). Now, when we see Chili, he's recovering from the lambasting the sequel, "Get Lost" received, a sequel he didn't want to make. It's a cute joke to start "Be Cool." But it doesn't excuse director F. Gary Gray and writer Peter Steinfeld for making a horribly turgid and miserably unfunny sequel.

Gray and Steinfeld have successfully stripped all the humor and attitude out of Elmore Leonard's novel, which provided many laughs. Chili's involvement in the music business was his way to also get back into the movie business as he went about making a movie of what he was doing. All that has been omitted from the movie, "Be Cool." The problem, undoubtedly, is Steinfeld's script. Leonard's characters have attitude, charm, charisma, verve. Screenwriter Scott Frank brilliantly captured the essence of those people in "Get Shorty." Frank also found similar success adapting Leonard's "Out of Sight" for director Steven Soderbergh in 1998. Frank's impressive filmography includes "Dead Again" (1991) and this year's "The Interpreter." On the other hand, Steinfeld's contributions to cinema - "Drowning Mona" (2000) and the horribly unfunny sequel, "Analyze That" (2002). And in "Be Cool," he doesn't get a single character right. The dialogue falls flat, too.

No one seems to be having any fun in "Be Cool." They all seem to be taking themselves far too seriously and trying too hard to be funny. There's an embarrassingly lame dance sequence between Chili and Edie Athens (Uma Thurman), as if the filmmakers are trying to rekindle the magic the two actors generated in "Pulp Fiction" (1994). But this scene goes nowhere, as does a pointless cameo by Danny De Vito. His appearance only reminds us what a gem "Get Shorty" was and how we longed for Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and James Gandolfini in "Be Cool." Thurman looks sensational in a bikini, but there's nothing more to her character. Travolta, such a joy in "Get Shorty," seems thoroughly bored and, even the usually reliable Harvey Keitel is dull.

We're also saddled with Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, The Rock and Vince Vaughn, who has rater speedily become one of the most annoying actors. The other day I realized I've enjoyed him in just two films - "Swingers" (1996) and "Clay Pigeons" (1998). In "Be Cool," a miscast Vaughn plays a Jewish manager who acts black. This could be funny if Vaughn didn't grate on us. This chap doesn't know how to act anymore - every character he plays turns into an irritating caricature with no depth. Vaughn's fast becoming a reason not to see a movie.

The charm of "Get Shorty" was that Chili realized the skills he gained being a mobster fit ideally into him becoming a movie producer. But the music business doesn't provide him with such comedy. In Leonard's novel, "Be Cool," Linda Moon, the young singer Chili befriends, was sassy, smug, vivacious and fun. She had character, charm. In the film, Linda's (Christina Milian) as pedestrian and forgettable as every "American Idol" performer. There's nothing unique about her, absolutely nothing charming. Why she would captivate Chili is a mystery. And in the film's biggest mistake, Steinfeld treats Linda's rise to stardom seriously. What was he thinking?

Everything that's wrong about "Be Cool" is crystallized when Chili waxes poetic about the reasoning behind one of Aerosmith's classic songs. The moment isn't played for laughs; it's treated as serious and emotionally heavy. Right there you realize Steinfeld and Gary had no idea how to approach Leonard's novel to give it the touch it required. I very well might see a worse film than "Be Cool" this year. But I doubt I'll be as disappointed.
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mrpink28513424 March 2005
It is Get Shorty minus all the good stuff. Jokes repeated and aren't nearly as funny. Disgrace to those who have seen Get Shorty. If you haven't seen Get Shorty, see it, it's at least ten times better than this movie. If you choose to see this movie and haven't seen Get Shorty, you may think it was OK, maybe even good. But it really is one of the worst movies of the year. For the first time in my life, I walked out of the theater. The only thing close to being good is the Rock in his role as a bodyguard, but James Gandolfini was better in Get Shorty. Overall, save a couple bucks and rent Get Shorty, Be Cool is pale in comparison. To me, there never was a sequel to the hip, funny Get Shorty.
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Barely amusing
sire-53 March 2005
Be Cool was amusing, but not really very good. From the first scene it was filled with silly references to other movies-especially Pulp Fiction. I'm usually a fan of clever reference, but in Be Cool they mostly fell flat. This movie had four music numbers, a dance sequence, and a montage. It was less a whole film, and more a meaningless parade of cameos. The writing was pretty bad, and most of the performances were desperate and awkward-notably Steven Tyler. Duane Johnson stood out in a movie full of celebrities, as he obviously had a really good time acting, and he was fun to watch. All told, I would have a hard time recommending this film.
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Be Cool
tvalstar9921 March 2005
I haven't seen Get Shorty. So I was totally blank on this sequel. But this movie makes me curious to how Get Shorty was because I really liked Be Cool. Very good movie!

We see John Travolta as Chili Palmer trying to make a star out of Christina Milian, but this doesn't go without trouble. The fantastic one-liners, the hilarious Vince Vaughn who thinks he is black, the beautiful butt of Uma Thurman, The Rock as a homosexual, Russian mob, a hip hop band who are also a bunch of ghetto gangsters, the Pulp Fiction Dance between Thurman and Travolta over again and everybody wants something from Chili Palmer , the only one who stays calm in the world of music business. Be cool. 8 out of 10 stars.
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Acting Cool
tedg2 August 2005
We are born into the doom of being actors. If we are lucky we discover who we are but until then we go through a process of acting a role.

Some movies play with this idea, and "Get Shorty" was one of the most clever of these.

It had two elements: that notion of acting cool and the explicit self-reference of putting it in movies, complete with the command to "look at me."

Behind it was one of the coolest thinkers in cinema, Danny Devito who is a kind of patron saint of self-reference. He who made a film based on "Pale Fire" and whose "Death to Smoochy" is a pinnacle of sorts of introspective writing.

Now comes this, which starts out okay, along the same lines of heavy self-reference until we learn that Devito is to star in a biopic of Johnny Cash.

Then the grind of the inferior mind behind it begins.

Seems they had some idea that Uma Thurman fit into an intelligent enterprise somewhere.

Nope, none of the few things she can do fit into self-reference or folding in any way.

Seems they decided that a mere reference to performance wasn't enough, we had to have the whole pretty-girl-overcomes-adversity thing complete with several performances.

Nope, again.

And they figured that all the cool identity stuff would be carried by a white guy acting black and a black guy acting white.

Nope, nope , nope.

Go watch any Devito-inspired project rather than this.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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The Rock And Christina Milian Come Into Their Own, Vaughn And Cedric Are Hilarious.
BraveHawk6 March 2005
John Travolta is back as Chili Palmer in Get Shorty's sequel, "Be Cool". Chili Palmer is a former movie producer (as seen in Get Shorty) who is a former mobster. He is not happy with how his career in the movies is going and decides to branch off in the music industry. It is in a somewhat seedy bar that Chili discovers Linda Moon (Christina Milian) working in a trio. Linda has a strong singing voice but is obviously going nowhere within her group. The movie is basically centered around Linda and her contract. Everybody seems to want it now that Chili has plans and knows what a talent she is.

Getting all the characters on-screen spread them all out a little bit thin, with some barely getting any screen time at all. Most of the better characters got more screen time than I thought they would have. Thankfully, the great chemistry between Vince Vaughn and The Rock gets quite a bit of screen time. Another newcomer who delivers a surprising performance is André Benjamin, or André 3000 as Dabu. Dabu is one of the many in Sin LaSalle's (Cedric The Entertainer) entourage, along with many very large men.

There are many more actors and actresses in this cast but the best characters were those mentioned above. Dustin Hoffman pulled off a great performance, as usual, but even he seemed overshadowed by the rest of the cast. Uma Thurman, Steven Tyler, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Harvey Keitel and many others round off this great cast. I doubt all these actors would commit to something as horrible as we are all led to believe.

The Rock is starting to branch out with his acting range. His big gay bodyguard routine was hilarious, as I doubt I'll ever forget his rendition of "You're Not Woman Enough To Take My Man". Rock and Vince Vaughn as the wannabe pimp complimented each other perfectly and along with Cedric, they are the highlights of the movie. Also, Christina Milian looks to be one of the hotter new actresses on her way up and I was impressed by what I assume was her lip-syncing performance with Steven Tyler. Look for her to be around for awhile.

This was a large cast and, for the most part, they all held their own. My honest review is that this movie is better than it is being given credit for, possibly due to the incredible amount of hype put into it, turning many viewers against it. I went into this movie with an open mind and not expecting a great movie and I came out entertained. Because of this, I can recommend this movie with a clear conscience.
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