In the film, Chili Palmer is an ex-wiseguy turned
film producer. He has an uncompromising, though not entirely
legal, sense of justice and an oddly zenlike ability to be
the master of anyone or any situation, even when the situation
a gun pointed at his head. That’s where the loopy chain
of events begins, as Chili is explaining to record label owner
Tommy Athens (James Woods) that he is fed up with the film business,
and is setting his sights on the music industry, a hit man with
bad aim and an even worse toupee takes out both Athens and Chili’s
Chili breaks into the music industry easily thanks to Tommy’s
tip on a talented singer-songwriter, Linda Moon (Christina Milian)
and help from Tommy’s wife, Edie (Uma Thurman), whom Chili
has always fancied. As he starts to guide Moon’s career,
feathers are ruffled and everyone is soon gunning for him. Fearless
and well tailored, Chili handles them all in the same effortless
way he did filmmakers. Next thing you know Linda is on stage
at the Staples Center singing a duet with Aeorosmith’s
The movie is saturated with celebrities. A parade of supporting
actors are hung out to dry in one-joke roles: Vince Vaughn,
The Rock, Andrea 3000, and Cedric the Entertainer.
Vaughn plays a forcefully obnoxious pimp who thinks he’s
African American. The Rock is his gay bodyguard who aspires to
a career as a country-western singer. Andre 3000, named Dabu,
is a loose-lipped gun toting “gangsta” severely
lacking etiquette. Cedric plays a highly educated suburban
dad who makes
his living as a thuggish record producer.
Complicating things are the Russian mob, and a few cops keeping
Chili in their crosshairs. These scenes felt tacked on. The
nameless, accented characters serve the same purpose as robots
in a science
fiction movie—they can get blown away without sacrificing
any stars or feeling any emotion.
Minus the laughs, this pointless yet entertaining picture amounts
to a continuous loop of self-styled “players” trying
to be cool and failing. You will likely forget this movie two
hours after viewing it.
There isn’t anything deep or meaningful about Be Cool,
which actively encourages us not to take it too seriously. It
is diverting, generally likeable, and sometimes startlingly hilarious.
It’s fluff, but good fluff.