Owen Gleiberman
November 03, 1995 AT 05:00 AM EST

Get Shorty (Movie)

type
Movie
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Comedy
performer
Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman, Elmore Leonard, Delroy Lindo, Rene Russo, John Travolta, Dennis Farina, James Gandolfini
director
Barry Sonnenfeld
Producer
Danny DeVito
author
Elmore Leonard
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R

We gave it a B

Get shorty (R) A cracklingly energized adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1990 crime-caper novel. Director Barry Sonnenfeld finds a broad equivalent to Leonard’s propulsive-trash style, and the movie has a wonderfully sleek hero in John Travolta, who plays Chili Palmer, the Miami loan shark-turned-would-be movie investor, with the same impervious brashness that made him such a charmer in Pulp Fiction. Chili, in his cool black duds, is as much a put-on artist as anyone he meets in Los Angeles; Travolta lets us feel the joy of an actor playing an actor. The other characters are so thin, though, that their encounters begin to seem weightless. Gene Hackman plays grade-Z movie producer Harry Zimm as a cartoon huckster without really bringing out his undercurrent of desperation. And why cast Danny DeVito as a satire of a capricious Hollywood leading man? The pleasures of Get Shorty are genuine, but they remain stubbornly on the surface. B

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