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Streetwise Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is a bit tired of the movie business, and sees his chance to get into the music business when he's introduced - the last act of rogue music exec Athens (John Wood) - to aspiring young singer Linda Moon (Christina Milian). Together with the widow who inherits the music label, Edie (Uma Thurman), Chili has to first salvage Linda's 5-year contract from the ferocious grip of small time promoter Nicki Carr (Harvey Keitel) and his slimy partner in crime, Raji (Vince Vaughn), whose gay body guard Elliot (The Rock) is the weak link in their chain as he'll do anything to get an acting gig. Chili's problems compound when Sin Russell (Cedric the Entertainer) turns up with his heavies at Edie's office demanding $300 K owed to them by Edie's deceased ex. With no money to produce Linda's record, the only thing that could make things worse for Chili and Co is hit men from the Russian mafia ...

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Be Cool IS cool, a rip roaring slam dunk of a crime comedy that's not afraid of irony, self deprecating humour, and sharp lines straight from Elmore Leonard's black pen (with a little help from Peter Steinfeld). The dialogue zings but always in character - and what characters. Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is so hot he's cool; but Elliott (The Rock) is even hotter. He reckons he sizzles when he pats his buns when trying on a new suit for his first audition, in a scene that will set him up with a new line in screen characters well away from busting skulls.

Chili is so cool, for example, that he can calm the hot situation when a small army bursts in to the offices of Edie's company demanding a $300 K debt that Edie's company doesn't have. Chili eventually assures them they'll get their money by Friday - "with vig" (interest).

In a very different genre, but Be Cool is as good an ensemble cast as is Sideways, with every role perfectly cast, from Uma Thurman's self confident and alluring widow Edie to the underworld's highly entertaining Sin Russell (Cedric the Entertainer) and his large bodied entonnage, while Vince Vaughn is side-splittingly superb as the lowlife wannaba Raji. All the many non-speaking supports are physically perfect - you'll see what I mean.

It's a good story very well told, with lots of in jokes that we're also in on. Like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler declining a movie role he thinks he's being offered by Chili; "it's something I've always resisted."

Editing is first rate, with well chosen juxtaposition of scenes, such as a great near climactic moment in which Sin's heavies confront Nick Carr in his office, only to be surprised by the angry Russians. The complex and funny but dramatic scene, is followed by the film's bonus extra element, the rock concert scene featuring Tyler and Linda making her debut in a duet.

It's a film that will appeal to gangsters, rappers, musicians, singers, blacks, whites, short people, tall people, make up artists, record producers, policemen, dancers, music clip producers - and 'shylocks' like Chili Plamer. And you.

The DVD has more cool stuff, including 14 deleted scenes, an amusing 7-minute gag reel, music video and five featurettes including close-ups on The Rock, Andre 3000, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian and John & Uma's Dance Sequence. In the latter, Thurman says Travolta is the best dancing partner in the world. The filmmakers reveal why and how they set up this special sequence in the film. It's pretty cool.

Published September 15, 2005

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CAST: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Steven Tyler, Christina Milian, Harvey Keitel, The Rock, Danny DeVito and Steve Tyler as himself

PRODUCER: Danny DeVito, David Nicksay,Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher

DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray

SCRIPT: Peter Steinfeld (novel by Elmore Leonard)


EDITOR: Sheldon Kahn

MUSIC: Nick Loren, John Pwell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Corenblith



PRESENTATION: Widescreen 1.85:1/16:9 Enhanced)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1: feature only. Disc 2: making of documentary; 14 deleted scenes; gag reel; Close-ups on The Rock, Andre 3000, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian and John and Uma's Dance Sequence; music video

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 14, 2005

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