Be Cool

It has been ten years since audiences last saw Chili Palmer (John Travolta), a former criminal who uses his criminal experiences to become a successful film producer. The how and why Chili made this transition was documented in the 1995 film Get Shorty.

As the film opens, Chili is discussing his frustrations with the film industry with his associate Tommy (James Woods), at a sidewalk cafe. The conversation is interrupted by a barrage of bullets that leaves Tommy dead and Chili with more questions than answers. It seems that Tommy was taken down by a criminal organization and as such, his record company now finds itself in dire straits as his widow Edie (Uma Thurman), struggles to keep the company afloat.

Since Chili is friends with Edie and wants to move to the music business, he uses this opportunity to introduce a new prodigy named Linda Moon (Christina Milian) to her and prepares to record her.

Things become complicated when Chili discovers that Linda is under contract to some very shady characters, including Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) who, like Chili, has a criminal past and is not above using thugs to eliminate or intimidate those into doing his bidding. His right hand man is the hood obsessed Raji (Vince Vaughn) and his massive yet closeted muscle Elliott (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).

If you are not confused yet, don’t worry as the plot will be come even more complex when record producer Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer), demands $300,000 in owed money from Tommy, due in under a week to keep his boys from taking out Chili and ruining Edie’s company.

The great thing about Be Cool is that no matter how many characters come and go from the every changing plot, it is always well paced and funny, and does not lose momentum.

The audience, like most of the characters, is forced to figure things out as they happen with the exception being Chili who seems to have things figured out even before he takes the necessary steps to resolve the situation.

The cast seems to be having a great time playing their parts and Travolta and Thurman seem to have a very easy going and natural chemistry, especially when they follow up their Pulp Fiction dance with a spirited number. The film also boasts many cameos and I will refrain from spoiling them here.

The highlight of the film would have to be The Rock as he daringly pokes fun at his tough guy persona and signature raised eyebrow by playing the identity confused Elliott who is more at ease belting out torch songs than he is at bashing heads.

The only real issue with the film was that Thurman’s character did not always have much to do aside from standing around looking pretty and being the supportive love interest in the film.

That being said, if you do not mind a twisting plot, over the top characters, and some goofiness, than Be Cool is just the film for you.

4 stars out of 5