Be Cool is a 2005 American comedy film which was adapted from a 1999 novel. The book was the sequel to the 1990 novel Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard (itself adapted into a hit 1995 film) about mobster Chili Palmer's entrance into the film industry. The film adaptation of Be Cool began production in 2003. It was directed by F. Gary Gray, produced by Danny DeVito (who produced and co-starred in the first film), and starred John Travolta, reprising his role from the first film. The movie opened in March 2005 to generally negative reviews, and was released to video and DVD distribution on June 7, 2005.
Chili Palmer (John Travolta) helps Edie Athens (Uma Thurman), the widow of an executed friend, Tommy Athens (James Woods), to resurrect a record company using the talents of young and talented female vocalist and songwriter, Linda Moon (Christina Milian). The plot is complicated by several facts: In a loan-shark subplot from Get Shorty of "who owns who", Chili makes deals and owns all the players as a "producer". The Russian Mafia are trying to kill Chili because he witnessed the execution of Athens. Athens' record company owes money to a gangster/producer, Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer). Chili Palmer, tired of filmmaking, enters the music industry after witnessing the execution, by the head of the Russian mob, of his friend Tommy Athens, owner of a record company. Chili uses the opportunity to help his friend's widow, Edie Athens, manage the failing business, which owes $300,000 to the hip hop producer Sin LaSalle. Chili enters the music industry on the talents of a female entertainer, Linda Moon. Moon convinces Chili to take on her cause, getting out of contractual obligations to Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) and Raji (Vince Vaughn), who has a gay Samoan bodyguard named Elliott (The Rock), an aspiring actor and the butt of Carr and Raji's homophobic jokes. Carr and Raji take exception to Chili's intervention, and hire a hitman, Joe "Loop" Lupino (Robert Pastorelli) to kill Chili. In the meantime, Chili convinces Edie to produce Moon, hoping to resurrect Athens' failing record company through a live performance with Aerosmith and Steven Tyler. LaSalle threatens Chili and Edie for payment of the $300,000, but they convince him to give them a few days to get the money plus the vig. When the Russians attempt to kill Chili, Joe Loop mistakenly kills Ivan Argianiyev (George Fisher), the Russian Mob hitman. Raji then kills Loop with a bat after Loop "disrespects" him. After Chili talks Linda into leaving Carr and his girl group, Carr tries to trick Chili by handing him a pawn ticket, claiming that Linda's contract was at the pawn shop owned by the Russians. This is actually a set-up by Carr to get Chili killed. Knowing about this trick, Chili hands the ticket to Edie, who turns it over to the police. Now the cops, instead of Chili, pay the Russians a visit. Believing that Carr tricked him, Bulkin and his men pay a visit to Carr's office while Sin LaSalle and the DubMD's are there. Insulted by Bulkin's racist remarks (while LaSalle himself also makes racist remarks the whole time), LaSalle kills him. In the meantime, Raji sends Elliot to kill Chili. However, Chili befriends Elliot and tells him that he can help him out with his acting career. When Carr threatens Chili, Chili sends him to the hands of the police with a pawn ticket. Finally when Raji and Elliot threaten Chili, Chili again befriends Elliot, who turns on Raji after learning that Chili gotten him an audition for a film and Raji erased the evidence of it on his answering machine. For all his smooth talking and flamboyant wardrobe, Raji finds himself in a firework conflagration which roasts him live on camera. Carr is arrested on murder charges when they find him with the bat used to kill Joe Loop. During all of this confusion, Chili squeezes in a dance scene with Edie (a nod to his "Twist Contest" scene, also with Thurman, in Pulp Fiction) and Moon gets her debut with Aerosmith. Finally, LaSalle becomes the producer for Moon and Elliot embarks on a successful acting career (his first film is with Nicole Kidman).