Sunday, March 06, 2005

Be Cool

Get Shorty was a cool, fast-paced, sparkling little was a minor gem that had sly wit, broadly drawn but engaging characters, and just enough action and intrigue to hold your attention through it all with John Travolta (the modern epitome of screen cool) deftly holding the center.

Be Cool, the sequel, has...John Travolta.

It's not a completely terrible movie...there are some genuinely amusing moments sprinkled throughout and Travolta, even though at times he seems to be phoning his reprise of the unflappable Chili Palmer in sometimes, is still cool...but it's lazy and poorly-paced and bloated (with too many characters and too many "clever" plot twists.) It's not even close to being as sharp and consistently engaging as its predecessor.

Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000 of OutKast) has a few funny moments and I guess there's some amusement to be had in The Rock's arch portrayal of a gay bodyguard who, this being Hollywood, wants to be an actor but overall the level of humor is nothing to write home about (an in-joke about the weakness of sequels early on is proved to be true by much of which follows.)

Pity poor Vince Vaughan, stuck in the role of a white guy with delusions of being some kind of black "gangsta"'s the kind of performance that will either come off as inspired lunacy or as gratingly annoying.

It wasn't inspired lunacy.

A couple of extended sequences...Travolta and an under-used Uma Thurman dancing during a performance by The Black Eyed Peas and Sergio Mendes and co-stars Christina Milian and Steven Tyler dueting on "Crying" during an Aerosmith concert...looked more like music videos than parts of the overall narrative.

It's one of those movies where you get the feeling that the folks onscreen had more fun making it than the audience does watching it.

(But hey, the trailer for Batman Begins that was shown beforehand was pretty cool...not worth the price of admission...but pretty cool :-)

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