Get Shorty: Linda R. Chen
February 22, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Get Shorty (Movie)

Mystery and Thriller, Comedy
Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman, Elmore Leonard, Delroy Lindo, Rene Russo, John Travolta, Dennis Farina, James Gandolfini
Barry Sonnenfeld
Danny DeVito
Elmore Leonard
Current Status
In Season
We gave it an A-

When director Barry Sonnenfeld admits that Danny DeVito (not John Travolta) was his first choice to play supercool Chili Palmer, I can’t help thinking of the Saturday Night Live skit where Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley audition for spots as Chippendales dancers. Just the thought of DeVito strutting up the stairs to dispatch a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini is wince-inducing (although perhaps the title would’ve made more sense). Such revelations in the new collector’s edition of Get Shorty, the 1995 adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Hollywood satire, are timely reminders — a sequel, Be Cool, hits theaters March 4 — of just how irresistible Travolta’s Hollywood-struck gangster was.

EXTRAS Ben Stiller nails a cameo in one deleted scene as the condescending young director of one of Harry Zimm’s (Gene Hackman) B movies; and DeVito, who bought the book’s rights without reading it, steals the show in three documentaries. Sonnenfeld’s dated commentary, however, has all the pizzazz of a wax-museum tour (”There’s Hackman. There’s Rene Russo”). While this DVD might not be the Cadillac of special editions, it’s powerful evidence that Be Cool had better be good.

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