Directed by F Gary Gray, starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Christina Milian, Harvey Keitel, The Rock, James Woods, Andre 3000, Cedric the Entertainer and Robert Pastorelli.

So Chili Palmer returns, John Travolta easing back into one of his more critically appreciated roles as the loan shark seeking to become a big fish in the entertainment business.

'Get Shorty' saw Palmer find his gangster past an unexpected asset in his rise to the top of the movie industry. A sharp, funny critique of Hollywood and its superficial nature, it ably demonstrated that Travolta could still carry a movie following his career rebirth in 'Pulp Fiction'.

10 years on we find Chili Palmer jaded with the movies and seeking to focus his talents upon a new challenge. The assassination of record producer and friend, Tommy Athens (Woods), and Palmer's subsequent involvement with both the record label and wife of his dead friend see him wading into the politics of the music industry.

Along with Athens' widow Edie (Thurman), Palmer stumbles across a young singer named Linda Moon (Milian) and decides to become her manager. This does not go down too well with her actual manager Raji (Vaughn) and before long the Russian mafia is involved (of course), gangsta rappers want their money (as always), and the plot gets starstruck and starts to stutter.

The gusto with which Chili bemoans lacklustre sequels in the early scenes of 'Be Cool' suggests a confidence in the new material which proves to be shockingly misplaced as the film progresses. Running out of steam over a period of two hours, its vacant posturing and roster of guest appearances give the film a feel that is eerily similar to that of an overlong hip-hop album. Where 'Get Shorty' sought to give an insight into what went on beneath the glamorous veneer of showbusiness, its sequel seems content just to embrace the cliché.

In a film with no shortage of unnecessary scenes, a cringeworthy appearance by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is deserving of mention, while the fact that the much heralded Travolta/Thurman dance scene lacks the magic of old will raise few eyebrows. That job is left to The Rock, who reveals real comedic ability in his role as gay Samoan bodyguard Elliot. The scene in which he performs a 'monologue' from the movie 'Bring it On' proving to be one of the few truly funny moments. 

Glossy, soulless and heavily promoted, 'Be Cool' manages to be an unintentionally accurate reflection of the pop music industry. The sum of its parts guarantees a hit, but its stay in the charts may be brief.

Ray Donoghue