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Posted October 1, 2010
This is supposed to be a funny movie. It's a bit of a spoof. John Travolta has returned as the slick Chilli Palmer, who is now tiring a bit of the movie business. He is inspired, after witnessing the sudden death of his music industry friend, to jump into music himself by promoting a newcomer female singer that he's stolen (rescued) from her exploiting and unethical managers. That's the set-up we get in the first 5 minutes. It quickly goes downhill after that. The remaining hour and 45 minutes are filled with cliche dialogue and character, celebrity walk-through, and a spinning loop for a plot. In the meantime there seems to be a contest to provide as many low-life types as possible who can be connected to the empty scenario. Vince Vaughn is suprisingly humorous the first time you see him portraying a white manager trying to be black (as in pimp-manager) but then his bit gets old fast, and frankly embarassing. Cedric the Entertainer and his possy of black rappers are supposed to make us laugh as well with their satirical, over-the-top rendition of "gangsta" music thugs- but they don't! If it's supposed to be camp, it's not. Their not-so-comic stereo-types fall even flatter when the director decides to switch moves on us and has Cedric issue a serious social statement in response to a racial epithet delivered by a Russian mobster-- just before he "pumps a few caps" in him(laugh?- I can't tell). Travolta is alright in the reprise of his role from "Get Shorty," but he's a prop, not an actor here- an anchor for the other attempts at gags and comics floating around the set. In a cheap attempt to insert (not gracefuly) the magic of Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman plays his murdered friend's widow who becomes his music business partner and love interest. Her performance is so undistinguished it looks like it was phoned in. They, of course, also just happen to have a scene where they dance together in the middle of the floor at a nightclub! For good measure, add in Harvey Keitel as another gangster-music manager, short appearances by James Woods and Danny DeVito, and a celebrity cameo by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. It's like being at a Hollywood bus station! As if that weren't enough, WFL wrestler, the Rock, plays Vaughn's homosexual (but not admitting it) bodyguard. In truth, though, his self-effacing performance is about the only real good thing in the film, along with that of the beautiful, charming Christina Milian who is well cast as the aspiring singer, Linda Moon. Otherwise, this is very disappointing. It's not put together well, it's not funny, and there aren't enough special effects to make up the difference. Pass.
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Posted December 29, 2010
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