Be Cool -
MGM Home Entertainment
Date: June 7, 2005
Review posted: May 31, 2005
Palmer (John Travolta) decides to try his hand in the music industry,
he romances the sultry widow (Uma Thurman) of a recently whacked music
exec, poaches a hot young singer (Christina Milian) from a rival
manager and discovers that the record industry is packin’ a whole lot
more than a tune!
Chili Palmer is
one of the most memorable characters John Travolta has ever created,
right up there with Vincent Vega and Tony Manero. Get Shorty
(1995) was his follow up to Pulp Fiction, and Travolta was
clearly at home in the role, and the film was all the better for it.
Unfortunately, they just couldn’t leave well enough alone, following
up that memorable film with this, Be Cool, a virtual textbook
on how to make a cinematic mess.
The best sequels
are those that pick up where the original film left off, yet can be
followed easily even by viewers who are new to the franchise, and that
is one of the few good things that can be said about this film. In
the first few minutes, we are brought up to speed on who Chili is and
what he has been up to. It all goes downhill from there, as one
cardboard character after another shows up to make Chili’s life
It is not just
that Be Cool is bad. The film is bad in a boring way, lacking
any evidence of the cleverness of the original film. What were the
filmmakers thinking when they were developing this turkey? Any scenes
not rehashed from the ‘95 film are a hopeless shambles. The film is
self-referential to a fault: “I’m not one of those singers who needs
to do movies,” says Steven Tyler in one scene. When we first see
Chili he passes a billboard for his latest project and laments to
himself about sequels. Be Cool is set in the music business -
which by some accounts probably is as cutthroat as it is made
to look here - but there are musical numbers that go on waaaaay
too long and have little to do with the actual story; they come off
like mere filler, growing quickly tiresome.
The story is not
the only thing that grows tiresome. The characters that inhabit the
music industry of Be Cool are some of the most aggravating,
unwatchable characters in recent film history. Sin LaSalle (Cedric
the Entertainer) threatens an A&R man while waving to his daughter and
neighbor in his ritzy suburb. He is the Wharton Business School grad
who is playing gangster. Elliot Wilhelm (The Rock) is the gay
bodyguard trying his hardest to be as star. He made a video for his
cover of “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” and he has prepared
a monologue from Bring It On. The Rock is playing a gay guy.
Get it? (Director F. Gary Gray said that in shooting the video for
“You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” they were trying to make it
bad on purpose, an example of how not to make a video. He must
have really wanted to make the point clear, as he made Be Cool
in much the same way.)
Harvey Keitel is
wasted in the role of Nick Carr, the criminal manager. Those
characters, as lame as they are, might be forgivable if it were not
for Vince Vaughn. Vaughn plays Raji, a wigger, a low end manager, a
wannabe hustler decked out in the gaudy pimp style that shows he has
probably seen Pimps Up, Hoes Down one too many times. Vaughn
does something incredible here: he takes a bad movie and manages to
make it worse; he ruins every scene he is in. Raji is probably
supposed to be comic relief (??), but it only takes a few scenes
before we want to see him die a horrible death. When Sin LaSalle’s
cronies dangle him off the roof of a building, the suspense was
incredible, as I was waiting breathlessly, hoping they would drop
him. Vaughn gets too much screen time here, and the film is all the
worse for it.
in his performance this time around. Chili seems less in control of
things now, and the film is hijacked by characters that are far less
interesting to watch. Nothing is added to the Chili Palmer mystique;
we do not learn anything new. The highlight of the film is Uma
Thurman, who has little to do here but looks absolutely ravishing.
She is one of those rare actresses who looks better now than she did
when she was 19. She is unbelievably sexy here, and it is a shame
that her character is not more fleshed out.
pointless, jumbled mess that probably would have been half as long had
someone only trimmed the indulgent filler. The film spends so much
time going nowhere that after a while we just don’t care. Over and
over I was reminded of Get Shorty, and that is really the point
here. If you find yourself getting the urge to see this movie, rent
Get Shorty instead. They got it right the first time.
is presented in the original 2.40:1 widescreen ratio. The transfer is
crisp, expertly preserving the film’s wide color palate. The black
and white levels are sharply rendered, and the overall picture is free
of any degradation.
This DVD is
presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround. The presentation is quite good,
especially in the film’s many musical numbers. All channels come
through sharply, free of any discernible distortion. There is also an
optional French language track presented in Stereo Surround.
Very Cool” Making of Documentary: The cast and crew talks about
picking up where Get Shorty left off, the story, the
characters, and how it all came together. (22:00)
14 deleted scenes and extended cuts. There is some amusing stuff
As blooper reels go, this one is fairly long, the cast blowing their
lines and mugging for the camera. (7:00)
Music Video: The
Rock as Elliot Wilhelm “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man”:
Introduced by the director, this is the complete cut of the video we
see in the film.
Close Up: Dance
A look at the
dance sequence with John Travolta and Uma Thurman. We see how it was
choreographed and filmed.
Close Up: The
A closer look at The Rock and the character he plays here. We also
get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video for “You Ain’t
Woman Enough to Take My Man.”
Close Up: Andre
In his first
movie role, Andre 3000 plays, surprise, a rapper. Here he talks about
creating the character and working with Gray.
Close Up: Cedric
Gray and the producers talk about casting The Entertainer in the role
of “the bad guy,” and Cedric talks about creating the character.
Milian talks about creating the Linda Moon character, the role with
probably the biggest arc in the film.
The original theatrical trailer.
is one of
the most ironically titled films in recent memory. Aside from being a
sequel that no one was looking for, the film is shoddy from beginning
to end, its lazy writing and clichéd story line becoming quickly
unbearable. The bonus materials are of minor interest, but they are
mostly superficial and do little to sate what curiosity one might
have. The best that can be said for this mess is that Uma looks
great, and the film reminds us of Get Shorty, a film much more
worthy of your time.
VERDICT: SKIP IT
Home | Back to Top