FILM REVIEW RATING: UNDECIDED...
I approached this film verrry cautiously. I'd very much enjoyed GET SHORTY, this films predecessor, and wondered how much damage a sequel could do. Then I read several professional and private reviews of BE COOL which all but beat the film into the ground for poor scripting, poor acting, and in general just being a wreck-of-a-film. So to say I was hesitant to view it would be an understatement.
But I'm glad I did...
Although BE COOL didn't come close to the level of distinction that GET SHORTY did, this film does have its moments.
We're reintroduced to Chilli Palmer (John Travolta, MICHAEL) as the Bronx shylock who's come west to enjoy the Hollywood film business. But Chilli is a bit burned out on the film industry and sets his sights on the music biz. And he thought getting a movie produced was tough!
Amidst the clamour and glamour of rappers, gay body-guards, Spice Girl lookalikes and Aerosmith, Chilli Palmer inserts himself with his usual maddeningly calm demeanor. And in these shark infested waters Chilli meets up with Tommy Athens (James Woods), an old buddy of his. While they're sipping drinks at a local establishment in L.A., a Russian mob hit takes place on Tommy and Chilli has to find out why.
John Travolta's character is reunited with Edie Athens (Tommy's widow played very well by Uma Thurman). Tommy was a music producer with his own label; a label that is nearly bankrupt. But Chilli and Edie may have found the perfect solution in Linda Moon (Christina Milian), a beautiful and gifted singer who's contracted to another producer. But can Chilli get her out of the contract? You bet he can.
In the end, Linda Moon sings with Aerosmith, the failing record label is saved, and all of Chilli's many enemies have been cowed.
What stood out for me in this film was Vince Vaughn who played Raji, a white-boy wanting to be a black player. His antics were over-the-top and always hilarious.
Also notable was The Rock, who played a gay bodyguard who likes to sing women's songs and raise only one of his eyebrows. His rendition of "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man" is absolutely hysterical.
We're also given the opportunity to see Uma Thurman and John Travolta dance again (hadn't seen that since PULP FICTION) and they both "bust their moves on the floor" very well.
So why the questionable rating? Well, Chilli is just Chilli again. He doesn't grow or pull off anything unexpected. The double-and-triple crosses are pretty transparent. And if it weren't for The Rock and Vaughn, this film would have flopped on almost all levels. But they kept it uplifting and entertaining enough to keep me watching until the very end.