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Get Shorty

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Get Shorty

Starring: John Travolta, Gene Hackman
Director: Barry Sonenfeld
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: October 1995
Genres: Comedy, Suspense

Review by Andrew Hicks
3½ stars out of 4

Up until about a year ago, John Travolta's career consisted of those "Look Who's Talking" movies (notice how they never called them LOOK WHO'S TALENTED) and the 1991 bomb SHOUT (which was bad enough to make most people scream). But somewhere along the line, Travolta got the starring role in the Tarantino masterpiece PULP FICTION and his career soared once again. Weird how someone whose career was on par with the Bee Gees back in 1978 would experience fame and fortune once again, while Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb could do no better than a 1993 straight-to-the-cutout-bin album aptly named "Size Isn't Everything" (and of course, they learned that sales are everything).

But now Travolta's back on the Hollywood scene once again, and I think we all know why. Four words: contract with the devil. And this has nothing to do with Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America." No, Satan is much more humane. Anyway, yes, Travolta has sold his soul to the hairy host of the netherworld. How do I know? I own the document in question. Amazing what you can buy at those collector's shops for a few hundred dollars, isn't it?

GET SHORTY continues in the vein of PULP FICTION, with Travolta as crime minion Chili Palmer. He goes to collect some of the mafia's money from a B-grade director (Gene Hackman) and suddenly finds out he wants out of the mob game and into the movie game. Sure, a ruthless criminal like him is far too honest to make it in Hollywood, but I guess that's beside the point.

Palmer is determined to get Hackman's next project made, so he sets out to convince big star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) to star in the movie, bringing along down-and-out horror actress Karen Flores (Rene Russo), who has already had affairs with Hackman and DeVito. It doesn't take a Las Vegas odds-maker to predict that she and Travolta will soon be hitting the sheets as well, after the customary sexual tension and denial, which has been used in every comedy from "Who's the Boss?" to Speechless. It works in this case, unlike "Who's the Boss?" although it's interesting to note that Tony Danza has signed a contract with the devil also.

Complicating matters somewhat are the mobsters who have backed Hackman's other films and want in on this one too, along with Travolta's mob boss trying to track him down for defecting. GET SHORTY is by no means on the same level as PULP FICTION, despite the obvious similarities. This movie doesn't have near the amount of originality or depth as PULP FICTION but it is definitely one of the most entertaining movies I've seen this year (yes, even better than HALLOWEEN VI). GET SHORTY is my kind of movie, one that mixes intelligent humor with action and violence. I'm definitely going to have to check out the novel it was based on. Are you getting this, shorty?

Copyright 1995 Andrew Hicks

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