Saturday, June 4, 2016

Movie Review: "Be Cool" (2005)

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Movie"Be Cool"
Director: F. Gary Gray
Year: 2005
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hours, 58 minutes

After numerous successful projects in Hollywood, ex-loan shark Chili Palmer (John Travolta) has grown tired of working in movies. His new goal is to make it big in the music industry, and lucky for him, he has just come across the young singer he believes has what it takes to be a star.

"Be Cool" is the sequel to the 1995 Hollywood gangster comedy "Get Shorty." It is directed by F. Gary Gray, who had previously directed the stoner comedy classic "Friday," and has since directed the Academy Award nominated "Straight Outta Compton." However, smack dab between those two powerhouse films, he made this less-than-worthy sequel to an already mediocre movie. "Be Cool" shows that long delayed and simultaneously unnecessary sequels are nothing new for Hollywood. Ironically, the first line in the movie is, "I hate sequels," which is a little bit of self aware, self-deprecating humor and one of the funniest lines in the entire thing. Unfortunately, by the end of it, we found ourselves sharing this sentiment. Banking off of the idea that Chili Palmer made a stinker of a sequel to his first film, he now wants to turn to another form of work. John Travolta returns as loan shark-turned-movie producer Chili Palmer. After 10 years producing movies, he has grown tired of all the bullshit in Hollywood and wants out of the business. He decides he would like to go into the music business instead. Most of the original cast, apart from Travolta, is now gone, and we are introduced to a myriad of new characters played by the likes of Vince Vaughn, Uma Thurman, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Harvey Keitel, Cedric The Entertainer, and 2000's singing sensation Christina Milian. "Get Shorty" received fairly high critical praise, and though we weren't huge fans, we did like it enough. This film is another step or two down from there.

This flick is very similar to the original. Instead of wanting to make movies, Chili walks around imposing his will on people in an effort to become a music producer. Unlike the movie industry that is full of liars and cheats, the music industry is full of gangster types who are not supposed to be intimidated by the likes of Chili Palmer. Fortunately for Chili, most of the people he encounters are dumb as a post, so he can easily outsmart them. To be honest, we can't recall any of the other character's names because they were either too stupid or not memorable enough to commit to memory. The actors here have bare bones to work with in a script full of crap. There's are not many bright spots here, only one. For us, the best part of the film is Dwayne Johnson as Elliot, the gay bodyguard with aspirations of being an actor, but only knows one scene to repeat when he auditions for parts. He also has a penchant for country music and is completely self-centered. Nearly every time we laughed during "Be Cool," is was because of something ridiculous that The Rock did or said. Beyond his clearly over-the-top and maybe mildly offensive portrayal, there are little to no laughs in this movie. In the end, this is a weak sequel to a movie we weren't overjoyed about in the first place. The amount of times you will roll your eyes or visibly cringe will almost certainly far exceed the moments you'll laugh. or get invested in this cheap ploy for more money.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 30%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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