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Be Cool (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Music  |  4 March 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 57,628 users   Metascore: 37/100
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Disenchanted with the movie industry, Chili Palmer tries the music industry, meeting and romancing a widow of a music executive on the way.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Darryl (as GregAlan Williams)
Elliot Wilhelm (as The Rock)


Streetwise mobster-turned-movie producer Chili Palmer is back, but this time Chili has abandoned the fickle movie industry and veered into the music business, tangling with Russian mobsters and gangsta rappers and taking a talented, feisty young singer named Linda Moon under his wing. From the recording studio to an Aerosmith concert to the MTV Music Awards, he manipulates events to watch them play out the Chili way, using his signature blend of wiseguy skills and negotiation tactics. It's a dangerous business, and everyone's looking for their next big hit. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everyone is looking for the next big hit


Comedy | Crime | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sensuality, and language including sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

4 March 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tómalo con calma  »

Box Office


$53,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,450,212 (USA) (4 March 2005)


$426,111 (South Africa) (6 May 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was Robert Pastorelli's last film. He died from an accidental drug overdose during production. See more »


When Sin's gang hangs Raji off the balcony, his hat is gray. As the hat falls and the camera follows it down, it's brown. Then, when it lands on the cement and the Russians pick it up, it's gray again. See more »


[first lines]
Chili Palmer: I hate sequels.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, the various cast members are seen dancing, even the Russian "corpse". See more »


References Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) See more »


Kiss Me
Written by Matt Slocum (as M. Slocum)
Performed by Sixpence None The Richer
Courtesy of Word Entertainment/Squint Entertainment
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

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User Reviews

A bona fide contender for the worst film of 2005
26 March 2005 | by (Planet Earth) – See all my reviews

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.

16 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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