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
Early on in the movie, Martin Weir (DeVito) says to Chili Palmer (Travolta) that he will be playing music icon Johnny Cash. In Travolta's previous film Ladder 49 (2004), he acted alongside Joaquin Phoenix, who went on to play Johnny Cash in Walk The Line (2005). Travolta also presented the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the 2005 Golden Globes, which Phoenix won for playing Johnny Cash. See more »
When Chili comes down stairs at Edie's house, Sin mistakenly quotes "Knockin on Heaven's Door": "that cold black cloud is coming down ". The correct lyrics are "That long black cloud is coming down." See more »
I was never really that much of a fan of Get Shorty, but for some reason I watched it like a zillion times after I taped it off TV years ago (I guess Dennis Farina was just too funny), so much so that I was word perfect in every scene. Sure, it was funny, but what ruined it for me was the obnoxious direction by Barry Sonnenfeld (who, in The Gator's opinion, is down there with Kevin "Antichrist" Smith as THE worst director in Hollywood) that oozed falseness and tackiness at every opportunity.
Thankfully, F. Gary Gray has taken control of the sequel and it feels/looks less pedestrian and more er...cool. It's a stronger and funnier movie and, for a change, more of a new story than a simple sequel.
Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is now bored with movies, sequels and Harry Zimm and reckons the music industry will be more exciting. His pal Tommy Athens (James Woods, who appears to have aged about 20 years since Vampires) is a veteran music producer and keen to get a movie made about his life, something involving gangsters, crooked deals and the Russian Mafia. Too bad Tommy is promptly gunned down in broad daylight by the evil Ruskies.
Instead of making a movie about it, Chili takes Tommy's place and decides to stir things up at his record label and takes a shine to his widow (Uma Thurman). After watching starlet Linda Moon (Christina Milan) performing in a tawdry club, he promptly nicks her from her moron manager (a very funny Vince Vaughn) and promises to make her a huge star. Only problem is there's about 20 gangsters, a rival producer, a hit-man (the very funny and late Robert Pastorelli, whom I like a lot in his final movie ever) and a gay bodyguard (The Rock) out there to make things difficult for him.
One might accuse Be Cool of being too self-aware in attempting to smooth over its shortcomings, but the cheeky humour and welcome light touch make it thoroughly inoffensive. Farina may be absent this time round, but The Rock, providing more proof then ever before that he's a great actor, steals the show and Vaughn is a laugh riot. It could be interpreted as a major flaw that these two characters totally overshadow Travolta and Thurman, but one can hardly be cool and eccentric at the same time. As a result, the leads seem a bit dull.
Since the first was hardly high art, it would be insane to judge Be Cool too harshly. Enjoy it on its own level and you'll see that it's actually better than the irritating Get Shorty.
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