BE COOL is taken from an Elmore Leonard story, and as is usual of late, this prolific novelist has had a hand in the making of the film. And, as it must be said eventually, let me be the first to put it down in black and white; Leonard has become a one-trick pony. His 'plots' do not vary, there is no mystery, no suspense. We know all the players, who the 'white-hats' are, and who the 'black-hats' are, and we know the 'black-hats' are going to take a fall at the hands of the 'white-hats''. One would hope a talented writer such as he would be posessed of a little more imagination, a little more flair for the 'who-done-it'. We might also add that Leonard's 'good guy' is usually also a gangster, but for sake of the story, he is given the usual Hollywood PR makeover to make him not only acceptable, but, somehow loveable (?!).
In BE COOL Director F Gary Gray decided very early on that a film about the 'music business' and the glitz of Hollywood -where even the good guys are murdering one another- had better be a semi-spoof - semi-comedy. After all, it just wouldn't do if the movie-going world were to see that not only does crime pay, but murder does too. Our director and our producers also realized that if the movie wasn't going to have a real plot, they had better find some other way to at least try to make it a box-office draw, or they were going to super-flop - make a mess bigger than they could clean up. And they took the coward's way out : -the old ruse of 'cameos' - Danny DiVito (not as subtly as Hitchcock would have), Sergio Mendez, Aerosmith's Stephen Tyler (who, by the way, couldn't act his way out of a wet paper record jacket if the future of Rock and Roll depended on it - his CGI similaricon in Polar Express did a better job...).
If all this were not bad enough, our producer gets up to his eyebrows in lip service to "Black America Political Correctness" - the monolog by Cedric The Entertainer on how white people can't say "nigger", and the contributions of Americans of African Descent were, while quite accurate, entirely out of place, and something that the world really does not need it's collective nose rubbed in. Unthinking, I reached for the barf-bag in the seat pocket in front of me....
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