Saturday, March 26, 2005

Set your expectations to "Cool"

Bored with politics and looking for a little comic relief, Kathy and I took in Be Cool last night at the Alamo Drafthouse, and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. If you're looking for scintillating drama, this ain't it, but with my expectations adjusted to just the right level (e.g., I was looking for something more interesting to watch than this guy), I thought the show was hilarious from start to finish. Best line in the movie: "You know what you tell a guy with two black eyes? Nothing. He's already been told twice."

I didn't even mind the self-referential stuff thrown in, like a gratuitous
Pulp Fiction homage in the John Travolta-Uma Thurman dance scene.

I'll tell you what else, too, this gal, Christie Milian, who I'd not heard before, has some major-league singing chops. Like Uma Thurman, she's not difficult to look at, either:

Finally, and quite surprisingly, what really brought the movie together as a comedy was the performance of The Rock as a gay bodyguard who can't reconcile his tough guy image on the job with his would-be acting career, where his flaming tendencies irrepressibly emerge. He auditions for Travolta's character with a "monologue" in which he performed both girls' parts in a dialogue from Bring it On, a stupid movie about high school cheerleaders. Even that was topped, though, when he performed Tammy Wynette's
Stand By Your Man in a red satin cowboy outfit in a music video. It was a break-through part for him, I thought; he showed some range and some comic chops. And if he's trying to move beyond action flicks, I'd say he's broken down any preconception about what part he might play.

He really hams it up. In short, it was a romp. The plot wasn't particularly compelling, but it hung together enough to justify the array of talent represented in the show, including Harvey Keitel, Cedric the Entertainer, and a few other recognizables. I thought everybody in the principle ensemble, perhaps with the exception of Travolta himself, did a good job fleshing out their characters over the course of the film. The critics didn't seem to like it, but I wasn't there to judge the art - it made me laugh, and I could listen to Christie Milian sing all night.