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Still shot from the movie: Be Cool.

Be Cool

John Travolta revives his role of Chili Palmer in this prequel to the film Get Shorty. Playing the part of an ex-mobster, his character has plenty of opportunities to use the skill he honed during his first career as he tries to make it big in the music business. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: D+
Violence: D
Sexual Content: C+
Language: D
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Run Time: 118
Theater Release: 03 Mar 2005
Video Release: 06 Jun 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Chili Palmer (John Travolta) has a resume that reads like an unscrupulous laundry list-mobster, loan shark, movie producer. Okay, maybe that last one doesn't fall into the same category. But for Chili, the tricks he needs to get a film made are pretty much the same ones he's honed in his earlier careers. Now fed up with Hollywood shenanigans, he's ready to make a professional change.

The opportunity presents itself when the Russian mafia murders Tom Athens (James Wood), an old acquaintance. Stepping in to comfort the grieving widow, Chili discovers Edie's (Uma Thurman) record company is deep in debt and nearly penniless. When Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer) and his burly, armed rapsters show up at the office looking for their overdue money, Chili uses his smooth talking skills to delay the payment. Then, hoping to save Edie's business, he rummages around for some undiscovered talent to promote in the music industry.

He lucks out when he finds Linda Moon (Christina Milian) singing in a crowded bar. The fact she's already signed a deal doesn't stand in his way. Putting the pressure on her agent (Vince Vaughn), the cigarette smoking Chili tries to weasel away Linda's agreement so he can sign her up. Fudging the facts to help his cause, Chili soon has a multitude of record producers, mediocre mafia members and second-rate hit men twisted up in contractual negotiations.

Unfortunately, many teens will likely love the chaos that follows.

Stepping out of his normal tough guy role, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson plays a gay chauffeur/bodyguard waiting to break into the movies. Stealing nearly every scene he's in, Dwayne uses his trademark "raised" eyebrow for purely comic purposes this time. Other appearances by Carrot Top, Danny Devito, musician Steven Tyler and the late Robert Pastorelli are paired with clips shot at an actual NBA Lakers game as well as an Aerosmith Concert held in 2004. It's a roster sure to attract audiences.

However, the film unbelievably avoids the R-rating given to its prequel Get Shorty. Packing in profanities including one sexual expletive and one extreme hand gesture, the script also employs plenty of urban slang and several uses of a derogatory racial term. Suggestive song lyrics, sexual innuendo and offensive homosexual remarks are abundant. Dressed in scanty outfits, several characters as well as two dancers in a strip bar bare ample amounts of skin. Along with trigger-happy thugs, the movie depicts numerous graphic murders, severe beatings and a man being held by his feet from the top of a tall building.

Although Be Cool has some entertaining moments and is chock-full of famous faces, these individuals' dodgy tactics and the subsequent content concerns will likely earn this film a chilly reception from many family viewers.

Be Cool is rated PG-13: violence, sensuality, and language including sexual references

Cast: John Travolta, Uma Thruman, Dwayne Johnson, Danny DeVito
Studio: 2005 MGM

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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