"Mob Rule Not Cool"
What You Need To Know:
BE COOL is one part caper, one part goofy comedy, and one part satire of Los Angeles culture and the music industry. Several of the characters use epithets for African-Americans and gay people, which are partially rebuked. All of the characters let out a stream of profanity, and many of them use violence or threats to get what they want. On the bright side, an up-and-coming singer briefly mentions that she won’t do unseemly things because of her Baptist upbringing. Unfortunately, most of the characters act immorally or selfishly, and they leave little to commend.
(PaPa, Ho, C, Cap, LLL, VV, S, N, A, D, MM) Mixed worldview with pagan-style disregard for morality and ethics, a flamboyant homosexual who is routinely mocked, one character acts responsibly because of her Christian upbringing, and capitalist behaviors that connect ingenuity to financial success; 71 obscenities but only one ‘f’ word, 17 mostly strong profanities, seven strong racial epithets, and seven comparatively milder epithets; comedic violence includes some shootings, punching, man beat with bat, man dangled off building, and fireworks that catch man on fire; fornication implied, once when people wake up in bed together, plus some sexual references in a song; camera lingers on woman sunbather, upper male nudity from a dancer and skimpy outfits on women dancers; alcohol; smoking; and, organized crime, threats, criminal scheming, and breaking a contract.
BE COOL is a by-the-numbers sequel to GET SHORTY in which Chili Palmer, the shylock-turned-film producer, develops a sudden interest in the music industry but almost gets chased out of it by some heated, gun-toting competition. Accompanied by newly widowed music label head Edie Athens, Chili tries to launch the career of a new singer while wrangling her contract away from a crooked agent.
As if trying to make it in the music business weren’t work enough, Chili is also fending off mob hit men and helping Edie repay her company’s debts. His perennially cool and collected manner can usually get him out of a jam, but to escape all the trouble Chili finds, it takes more than talk – it takes a really good, really complicated plan.
BE COOL is one part caper, one part goofy comedy, and one part satire of Los Angeles culture and the music industry. The satire, unfortunately, consists of limpid gestures like the middle-aged hipster Edie wearing a stylish T-shirt saying “Mourning” after the death of her husband. That kind of commentary is shallow and too over-the-top to make substantial comment on L.A.’s upper caste.
The movie is sporadically funny, thanks mostly to Vince Vaughn’s character, a weirdo wannabe-rapper business agent. Depending on your humor, the dimwitted bodyguard played by The Rock will either make you laugh or wince with his flamboyantly gay antics, which he hopes will get him into the music industry.
Several of the characters use epithets – a strong one for African-Americans and another for homosexually active people – which is a terrible practice to encourage. The racial epithets are rebuked, though with a gun. All of the characters let out a stream of profanity, and many of them use violence or threats to get what they want. On the bright side, an up-and-coming singer briefly mentions that she won’t do unseemly things because of her Christian Baptist upbringing, and John Travolta’s character acts honorably to try to separate her from abusive agents.
In the end, BE COOL is predictable and sprawling. Its many subplots never congeal. There are a lot of talented people in the movie, but as was partially the case in OCEAN’S TWELVE – all those pretty faces don’t make us forget that there’s a bad script with a lot of negative content.