Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris
Comedy, chaos and cool
By BILLY NORRIS
Published March 7, 2005
Movie: Be Cool
Rating: PG-13 for violence, sensuality and language, including sexual references.
Summary: Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is the epitome of cool. He is a mobster-turned-movie-producer who decides to venture into the cutthroat music business after discovering a hot local talent. The only problem: This diva-in-the rough named Linda Moon (Christina Milian) is already under contract with a major label and record executive Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel). Chili decides to blow off the contract and develop Linda through NTL Records, a struggling company run by his old friend Edie Athens (Uma Thurman), the widow of a man who recently was picked off by the Russian mob. Chili's actions enrage Nick, the Russian Mob, a rap group (managed by Cedric the Entertainer), Moon's racially confused ex-manager Raji (Vince Vaughn), and even Raji's flamboyant bodyguard Elliot Wilhelm (the Rock). Chili has himself in a huge mess but knows his wise-guy tricks and superior sense of cool will ultimately make things go his way.
My view: This is the long-awaited (10 years if you've been counting) sequel to Get Shorty, a 1995 hit mobster movie. I have not seen Get Shorty, so I am not qualified to comment on the sequel value. In its own right, though, this is quite interesting. There is constantly so much going on that there's never time to step back and understand it. The best way to describe this movie is organized chaos. It cleverly satirizes the movie and music industries. The comedic standout was the duo of Vaughn and the Rock. They light up the screen: nearly every piece of their dialogue was gut-bustingly funny. It's not often you get to see the Rock in this type of role. Cedric the Entertainer's rapper posse was just as hilarious and features Andre 3000 of Outkast. With all that in mind, this film never gained quite enough continuity for me to settle in and be truly comfortable.
Recommendations: This is one of those borderline films that easily could have been rated R. It is extremely violent, vulgar and fairly sexual, but still managed to sneak by with a PG-13. Heed this rating, as there is some rough stuff in this one.
- Billy Norris, 17, is in the 11th grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.