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"Get Shorty"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Hollywood has such a strong, strange allure that even a loan shark in Miami can't resist the urge to get into the movie business. John Travolta, as Chili Palmer, the loan shark in pursuit of dry cleaner and film producer Gene Hackman, take center stage in this movie about making movies. It is hard to say who steals more scenes, Travolta, Hackman, or Rene Russo as a "B" movie scream queen. But "Get Shorty" is a hilarious flip-flopping roller coaster ride that proves that loan sharking is great training for making movies, except that in Hollywood they really play rough.

Travolta has a great idea for a movie that he pitches to Hackman when he comes to collect a debt, and Russo gets involved when they try to interest her ex-husband, Danny DeVito. He portrays a top actor who can get a film made just by being attached to the project. Imagine Mel Gibson, only shorter.

"Pulp Fiction" meets "The Player" could be the subtitle for "Get Shorty", but it all goes to proves that Travolta's success is deserved. Oh, there really is a "Chili Palmer" too! He plays one of the Dennis Farina's cronies. Chili gave author Elmore Leonard lots of background information on being a loan shark. The "real" Chili left "the life" in the sixties and became a private investigator. Truth is almost stranger than fiction. Rated R.

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