Get Shorty Movie Review

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The cryptic title of Get Shorty should forewarn you of the confusion to come when the film actually starts. To be honest, I >still< don't really know what it's supposed to mean. Initially, I was pretty excited about the prospects for Get Shorty: it's John Travolta's much-anticipated follow-up to Pulp Fiction; great actors Gene Hackman and Rene Russo both star; the well-regarded Elmore Leonard penned the novel that the movie is based on. What a disappointment!

The story goes: Travolta is Chili Palmer, a small time Miami hood, a "shylock" whose job is essentially coercing money out of people. His boss sends Chili on a chase for some questionably-raised funds; in Vegas, another contact sends him to L.A. to track down an entirely unrelated debtor, Harry Zimm (Hackman). And there are a few drug dealers who have their payoff stuck in a locker at LAX.

With all this money lying around, someone has the bright idea to produce a movie. Actually, everyone has the bright idea to produce a movie -- Chili, Zimm, Zimm's leading lady (Russo), the drug dealers, you name it. Somehow Danny DeVito gets wrapped up in all this, and of course, it's nothing but wacky hijinks until we get to the tidy ending!

While it's fun to watch Chili get caught up in the Hollywood scene and continually pitch this oddly familiar movie (it's a movie about a shylock's trip to L.A. to track down some absconded cash), it's not so much fun to watch 80 different plotlines convolute around what should have been, at its heart, an innovative and simple story. The sheer volume of information presented in Get Shorty is just way too much to absorb in 2 hours, and it results in a talky, sanitized, often boring, tragicomedy that begins to fade from memory as soon as you leave the theater.

There are a few plusses to Get Shorty. The direction is good and the acting is solid for the most part, and while I genuinely like Travolta, he's beginning to become a caricature of himself, a la Jim Carrey. Will Vinnie Barbarino ever die? By the looks of it, certainly not anytime soon.

The new special edition DVD includes commentary from director Barry Sonnenfeld plus a second disc full of extras -- making of featurettes, outtakes, a deleted scene, and more.

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Get Shorty Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 1995


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