Sunday, March 06, 2005
Review: Be Cool
What do you get when you have Uma Thurman, John Trovolta, Harvey Kietel, Cedric the Entertainer, The "Rock", Christina Milan, Aerosmith and the Black Eyed Peas in a movie?
A high production cost.
Which leads to finding a way to cover those costs.
Easy problem solved: Sign on a bunch of products to be displayed and be sure to give the soundtrack a lot of show time. Maybe then you can find some way to fit in the story, written by a very talented Elmore Leonard. But only after the advertising is done.
Guess that would explain why Be Cool comes off as more of a two-hour commercial rather than a movie. Between product placements that became more evident as the movie went on and the music video breaks for Black Eyed Peas and Aerosmith, I was beginning to wonder if I was watching a movie or MTV. And with MTV actually appearing in the movie for an awards show, it filled in both areas of advertising.
Even The Associated Press commented on how it was making the hybrid cars look "cool".
The story, what little there was sandwiched in between these marketing ploys, appeared to be nothing more than a sketch comedy with caricatures for characters. Everybody's role was over the top. And that was really it's saving grace. The actors and actresses, all very gifted, surely had fun making the movie.
Inside jokes were the order of the day and were used mostly to bring characters into the movie or explain their appearance. Steven Tyler saying he'd never be in a movie... The opening scenes about sequels... You get the idea.
It was nice, however, to see Uma and John dance again. They definitely have a chemistry which is noticeable from the first scene they share in the movie. Uma looks to be taking a shot at being John's best leading opposite, replacing Olivia Newton-John. And Uma's never looked better.
The dance scene was a mixture of character development and music video as it also served to give the Black Eyed Peas a video in the movie (the song, "Sexy" is available on the soundtrack). Sergio Mendes joins them for the song and the way the camera lingers on him rather than the stars of the movie is proof that they were a) excited to get him and b) trying to sell the soundtrack.
The "Rock" could be said to have stolen the show with his portayal of a gay bodyguard/wannabe actor, however with the screen time he had it looks like he was given the show. His part really was the funniest in the movie, drawing most of the laughs from me. (His song, "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", is also on the soundtrack.) Of course, I think most of the humor stemmed from who was playing the character.
Overall, I think the movie could have benifitted from much tighter editing. Doing away with a few scenes here and shortening a few there. It suffers the most because the movie plays like a joke that's drawn out too long.
Even with Uma, John and the Rock's outstanding performances, Be Cool really comes off as watching an episode of Saturday Night Live, complete with music guests and commercials.
Just with a higher budget.
I give it a C+.