ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Surround, French 5.1 DTS
SUBTITLES: English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
SPECIAL FEATURES: “Be Cool, Very Cool” documentary, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” music video with The Rock, “Close Up” featurettes (John and Uma’s Dance, The Rock, Andre 3000, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian), Theatrical Trailer
In this sequel to Get Shorty, Chili Palmer (John Travolta) helps a recently-deceased friend’s widow (Uma Thurman) save her dying record business from a variety of music industry thugs and the Russian mob.
Director: F. Gary Gray
Screenplay: Peter Steinfeld, based on the novel by Elmore Leonard
Get Shorty was one of the big hits of the 1990s, and a decade later, Travolta and Elmore Leonard tried to recapture the magic with another Chili Palmer movie. Unfortunately, Be Cool has none of the flavor, feel, or atmosphere as the first. It has some nice moments, and it manages to be funny at times, but it has no cohesiveness. What we get is a disjointed, unfocused, complete mess of a film that entertains in parts, but completely wastes a lot of great talent the rest of the time.
Part of the problem is the script: Peter Steinfeld’s adaptation of Leonard’s novel is not very interesting nor is it very funny, something the original definitely was. In addition, F. Gary Gray’s direction makes the film almost incoherent to the point of disinterest. It jumps around with no rhyme or reason, and you get the feeling no one rehearsed their lines before they spoke them. It is amazingly amateurish.
The poster (and Blu-ray cover) shows you one of the film’s major flaws. There are ten characters on the poster. That does not even begin to cover the supporting characters that appear quite often to move the plot along. On top of that, there are a bunch of cameos, so instead of watching a movie, you feel like you are watching a red carpet walk. Even Travolta feels like a supporting character, because he is not on screen for entire scenes, so other actors can get their time in.
Since Christina Milian is a big focus of the film, her character gets a lot of screen time. Pretty though she is, she is not a very good actress, has zero screen charisma, and no chemistry with Travolta.
This film needed a serious rewrite to make the plot tighter and have some characters eliminated. It also needed a director with some vision, like Barry Sonnenfeld brought to the original. There is a decent movie somewhere in this mess. You can just tell. Vince Vaughn is funny but goes overboard way too much. The Rock has some great comedic moments but director Gray stretches it out too long until it is not funny anymore.
While Travolta was entertaining while he is on screen, he does not get to act like Chili Palmer much. He does nothing but react to others, instead of driving the story himself. Be Cool? More like Be Bored.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The video and audio are both great here. The video transfer is sharp, with nice detail seen, even when the image is in motion. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and it has a full, enveloping sound. Music plays a big part in this film, and it is given a nice presentation here. Overall, a first-rate audio and video transfer.
The disc includes a nice helping of extras. The “Be Cool, Very Cool” documentary has some nice behind the scenes stuff, but it spends way too much time telling us what a great director F. Gary Gray is (which you can tell by the film, he’s not). The 14 deleted scenes are interesting, but I am glad they were not in the final picture. The music video featuring The Rock’s character is funny and a nice inclusion. The “close-up” featurettes focus on several actors, and one details the dance scene between Travolta and Thurman. A gag reel and trailer round out the extras.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR NETFLIX IT?
OVERALL GRADE: B+
Be Cool is not totally unwatchable, but it gets really tiring when you see so many cameos and supporting actors getting in the way of Travolta and Thurman. Between the Russian mob, label executives, corrupt managers, police detectives, and everyone else on the screen, I couldn’t find enough of a story to care what was happening. I could watch most of these actors in anything, but only in separate movies. All together, they give us too much of a good thing.
Be Cool is now available on Blu-ray from MGM/Fox Home Entertainment.
Click here to order Be Cool on Blu-ray from Amazon!