You can tell within the first two minutes that Be Cool isn't going to come close to living up to 1995's Get Shorty, which actually embodied the titular sentiment of this limp sequel. Director Gray and screenwriter Paul Steinfeld waste no time in winking at us, joking about how lame sequels are, and stupid compromises made to get a PG-13 rating. But instead of getting us to laugh, it only shows how desperate they are to please.
The plot has Travolta's hustler-turned-movie-producer Chili Palmer getting out of movies and into music when he discovers a talented young singer (Milian), teaming up with Edie (Thurman), a record executive's widow. Chili is beset by a colorful cast of lowlifes: Cedric the Entertainer and the Rock make the most of their roles, but Vince Vaughn is unbelievably grating as the white-guy-who-thinks-he's-black.
While Get Shorty had no trouble selling Chili's love of movies, his love of music comes across as contrived, designed only to pimp the acts (Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas) who've been paid to show up. Memorable lines from Get Shorty are recycled ad nauseam, and Travolta and Thurman dance and try to re-create Pulp Fiction's magic. There are one or two funny lines and enough stars to guarantee everyone at least a moment of pleasure. But a moment is all you're likely to get.