“Be Cool” was directed by F. Gary Gray who previously directed “Friday”, “Set It Off” & “A Man Apart”. The film serves as a sequel to the 1995 film, “Get Shorty”. It also based on the 1999 novel of the same name. The novel also serves as sequel with the same name. The film sees John Travolta returns to the role of mobster turn movie producer, Chili Palmer. The main cast include Uma Thurman, Cedric The Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Christina Milian, Harvey Kietel, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson & James Woods. The film also has several cameos from musicians including Steven Tyler, Aerosmith, Fred Durst and Gene Simmons. Danny DeVito also returns to from “Get Shorty” but for only a few scenes.
After the head of recording studio, Tommy Athens (Woods) is murdered, Chili Palmer (Travolta) is left with Tommy’s idea for a movie about a struggling singer who makes it big. Rather than continue Tommy’s idea, Chili would rather take the singer to make it big anyway instead of a movie. The singer is Linda Moon (Milian) and she has big dreams. Tommy’s widow and record label executive, Edie (Thurman) is left to struggle with the financial issues, including owing both the Russian Mob and Sin LaSalle (Cedric) a well known music producer. With LaSalle, is an entourage of muscle and Dabu (Benjamin) an upcoming recording artist and thug. Chili wants to help Edie and the label by signing Linda to contract and making her a big star. However, her independent contract is with Nick Carr (Keitel) and isn’t the biggest fan of Chili. With the a crew of people looking to get rich, Chili and Edie must work together as they try to balance the mob business and the music business but they soon realize that they are one in the same.
Films with an all star cast usually have a hit or miss kind of final product. This film is no different. While there are excellent performances from Travolta, Thurman, Keitel, Cedric and Vaughn, the film has a messy tone that jumps back and forth way too much, from a crime story, to a love story, to a comedy and all the cliches that come with each genre. I feel as if the movie is self aware as Travolta’s movie idea is what plays out in the course of movie which seems like a cliche in itself. The movie plays out as it should but the constant shifting tone make it hard to focus on one character in particular with the exception of Travolta but overall still entertaining.
After “Be Cool”, F. Gary Gray would go on to direct other movies like “Law Abiding Citizen”, “Straight Outta Compton”, “The Fate of the Furious” & “Men in Black: International”. Majority of this cast went on to their careers whether in the world of movies, music, standup comedy or sports. This movie is probably one of very few with a star studded cast that has a great entertainment value.