In 1995, audiences were first introduced to the suave Chili Palmer (John Travolta) in GET SHORTY, a film about the Miami shylock sent to Vegas to collect on a bad debt. Throughout the process, Chili winds up as a movie producer putting his loan-sharking ways behind him. Ten years later, we reunite with Chili in BE COOL. Tired of the movie business, Chili considers returning to his shylock roots until he discovers that the music industry just might be the change of scenery he was craving.
Loaded with stars that poke fun at both the movie and music industry, BE COOL is playful and entertaining. Definitely a movie that does not take itself seriously, you can tell that the actors and musicians in this film are having a good time being caricatures of people within the entertainment business. When the actors seem like they are having fun in a film, I cannot help but find myself smiling along while watching ridiculous moments on screen.
Seeing John Travolta and Uma Thurman (as music label owner and widow, Edie) together again in BE COOL after their knock out performances in the hit PULP FICTION is a treat. I particularly enjoyed it when they danced together with the beats of Sergio Mendes and the Black Eyed Peas performing in the background. Sure, it is no Jack Rabbit Slims and this dance moment will not be as legendary as their PULP FICTION sequence, however, it was very cool and almost sexy.
But one cannot mention BE COOL without commenting on another duo in this film, Raji (Vince Vaughn) and Elliot Wilhelm (Dwayne Johnson). While Chili and Edie are hip and fresh, poor Raji and Elliot are a comical mess. Vaughn had me laughing at his white-guy-gangsta-wanna-be persona and Johnson’s Elliot was one of the better parts of this movie. Once again, I’m on the Dwayne Johnson bandwagon. The energy he gives to his character is contagious. He does a tremendous job as the tough yet naïve bodyguard. The BRING IT ON monologue he performs for Chili is hilarious and spot on.
Cedric the Entertainer was awesome as the manager for the rap group Dub MD’s. He has a lot of different personalities from doting dad, Ivy League grad, and gun toting gangster. The group’s matching hummers, ridiculous coordinated outfits, big chains and guns covered in bling just added to the fun jabs at the industry. I liked André “3000” Benjamin’s performance as Dabu, a member of the Dub MD’s.
Lastly, Christina Milian’s performance as Linda Moon, a singer stuck in a contract with Raji and Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) is syrupy sweet. This pop princess seems too nice to be a part of the music industry and her fresh faced attitude is sort of annoying… it did not make me root for her and hope that Chili Palmer could propel her to superstardom. Having said that, I do think she had to be that doe-eyed innocent character to contrast the other personalities in the movie.
With all the twists and turns that include the Russian mafia, debts that require collecting, fun musical moments and other hijinks, this movie has some fun one-liners and predictably cool surprise scenes. If you liked GET SHORTY, you should check out this amusing sequel.
Video (2.40:1): Sharp and clear images.
Audio (5.1 DTS HD Master Audio): Audio was perfect for the musical numbers.
“Be Cool…Very Cool” Making Of Documentary (21:36): This making of feature includes director F. Gary Gray and interviews with other actors and producers. It is a typical making of featurette.
Deleted Scenes (17:31): This feature has a Play All Button for all 15 deleted scenes. A running “busting your balls joke” was pretty funny.
Gag reel (7:20) This gag reel wasn’t funny and was too long.
Music Video: The Rock as Elliot Wilhelm “You ain’t woman enough to take my man” (4:07): This video is really funny because it is so bad.
Close-up: Dance Partners (3:35): This is a look into the dance sequence between John Travolta and Uma Thurman.
Close-up: The Rock (6:01): Lots of praise for Dwayne Johnson being able to poke fun at himself. A little bit more information about his hilariously terrible music video.
Close-up: André 3000 (4:24): Andre discusses the wardrobe, his character and acting.
Close-up: Cedric The Entertainer (5: 26): Lots of praise for Cedric and his bad guy in funny moments throughout the film.
Close-up: Christina Milian (5:26): Filmmakers discuss how this character was the hardest to cast and how great it was to get Milian to be a part of the film as she is a triple threat.