Be Cool movie review, F. Gary Gray, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Vince Vaughn. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Be Cool'
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"Be Cool"
* star
115 minutes | Rated: PG-13
WIDE: Friday, March 4, 2005
Directed by F. Gary Gray

Starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, The Rock, Vince Vaughn, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian, Debi Mazar, André Benjamin, Arielle Kebbel, Robert Pastorelli, Paul Adelstein, Kimberly Brown, Carol Duboc, Keila Collins, Steven Tyler, Seth Green

Read our interview with Christina Milian Christina Milian (2005)
Read our interview with John Travolta John Travolta (2000)


Only worth renting to see The Rock steal the show as a thug who's more than a little light in the loafers.

  ('95) "Get Shorty"
  • Behind the Scenes
  • F. Gary Gray
  • John Travolta
  • Uma Thurman
  • The Rock
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Danny DeVito
  • Harvey Keitel
  • Cedric the Entertainer
  • Debi Mazar
  • Seth Green

  •  LINKS for this film
    Official siteTrailer
    at Rotten Tomatoes
    at Internet Movie Database
    Sequel set in the music industry shows none of the snarky spark 'Get Shorty' had for Hollywood

    By Rob Blackwelder

    "Be Cool" is the kind of sequel that gives sequels a bad name -- a bland, lifeless, uninspired cash-in with an assembly-line script and a sleepwalking star whose performance isn't even a faint shadow of its original incarnation.

    John Travolta plays a barely warmed-over version of Chili Palmer, his once-charismatic mob shylock from "Get Shorty" who came to L.A. to collect on a gambling debt from a B-movie producer and decided he'd rather break into the biz himself. Now he's bored with making horrible sequels (how ironic) and limiting occurrences of the F-word to keep his movies PG-13 (ditto), so for no explored reason he decides to switch show business horses and become a musician's manager.

    But where jazzy, hilarious "Get Shorty" was alive with film-industry mockery and novelist Elmore Leonard's uniquely bright bite -- not to mention Travolta's winningly wry, self-referential tough guy with an all-consuming obsession for the cinema -- "Be Cool" is dead on arrival.

    Instead of music industry humor, it has gun-toting hip-hop-producer stereotypes and Vince Vaughn as a pimp-daddy nitwit who "thinks he's black." Instead of a creative and amusing storyline, "Be Cool" hobbles along on a mundane, cursory (and yet incongruously sincere) rags-to-riches subplot about Chili helping a generic-pop Christina Aguilera wannabe (Christina Milian, who is in only a handful of scenes) get her big break -- singing with cameo whore Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith.

    Director F. Gary Gray ("The Italian Job" remake, "The Negotiator") seems to have left his talent in his other pants, relying on endless exposition to drive the action, undermining the movie's title by (among other things) setting scenes in the now-passé Viper Room and in a swing club (no, the movie isn't set in 1996), and lazily lifting half a dozen running gags wholesale from "Get Shorty."

    "Be Cool" has only one saving grace, and it's not the unfunny Uma Thurman as a sexy L.A. record executive (although she still looks spectacular in a bikini) or Cedric the Entertainer as the Oreo owner of a rap label -- it's wrestler-turned-actor The Rock ("The Scorpion King"). He's Vaughn's bodyguard/henchman, and an aspiring actor/singer trying desperately (and failing miserably) to hide the fact that he's more than a little light in the loafers.

    It is side-splittingly funny to watching this buffed, 290-lb. half-Samoan warble through Loretta Lynn songs and proudly smack his own rear when catching a glimpse of himself in a mirror -- and he manages to do this, and much more, without becoming a homosexual caricature. As outlandish as he seems, this guy is the most human character in the movie.

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