Guest / Limited Access /
Be Cool
Our Rating
1½ Stars - Weak
Average Rating
(not rated yet)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for violence, sensuality and language including sexual references)
Directed By
F. Gary Gray
Run Time
1 hour 58 minutes
John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer
Theatre Release
March 04, 2005 by MGM

Be Cool, directed by F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job), tries to strike the cocky pose of its 1995 predecessor, Barry Sonnenfeld's Get Shorty, and other show-biz satires like The Player. But above all, it alludes to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, with its dimwitted gangsters, glamorous ne'er-do-wells, gunslinging face-offs, painful ironies, and its centerpiece John Travolta/Uma Thurman dance floor flourish.

So, let's borrow a note from Pulp Fiction and begin with a definition:

cool, adj.

  1. Neither warm nor very cold

  2. Giving relief from heat

  3. Characterized by calm self-control
John Travolta returns in his role as Chili Palmer

John Travolta returns in his role as Chili Palmer

All of these definitions can apply to Be Cool, but one is especially appropriate.

Chili Palmer, the thug who smooth-talked his way into a job as a film producer in Get Shorty, continues to be the perfect role for John Travolta. Palmer's big, square-shouldered, cigarette-slinging machismo, ice-blue stare, and self-control in the midst of Mexican standoffs are the epitome of Definition No. 3.

Regarding Definition No. 2, Be Cool's release date means it's too early to offer us any relief from summertime heat. But it does offer two hours of climate-controlled reprieve from our troubles … even if it replaces them with new ones. Further, it's quite a change from the "heat" of the recent, self-important, serious, and sometimes scandalous Oscar contenders.

But Be Cool is best described by Definition No. 1. Like Get Shorty, it has all of the talents it needs to bring things to a rapid boil. But Gray and screenwriter Peter Steinfeld can't take this tepid material to anything more than a simmer.

Gray seems unfocused and uninspired, and since his style lacks energy, he fails to muster any in us. The central conflict never convinces us to care. It's a flimsy story drawn ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only Reply All
Responses to our November issue via letters, tweets, and Facebook posts.
Current IssueUltrasounds Help Bridge Evangelical and Catholic Theology
Ultrasounds Help Bridge Evangelical and Catholic Theology
Pregnancy centers find common ground in the pro-life cause.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickCompassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance with food, education, and health care.
Christianity Today
Be Cool
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.