We gave it a B+
It would be tough to out-cool John Travolta’s portrayal of a mobster with Hollywood dreams in Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1995 comedy-thriller Get Shorty. Wisely, by casting Irish actor Chris O’Dowd in the lead role, the folks behind this new retelling of Elmore Leonard’s novel haven’t even tried.
That is no slam on the star of The IT Crowd and Bridesmaids, who exudes shaggy charm as Miles Daly, a low-level member of a Nevada crime consortium who, by means we won’t spoil here, comes into possession of a script with both box office potential and bloodstains. Ray Romano, too, is terrific as a monster movie producer and walking bucket of flop sweat named Rick Moreweather, while there are some nice jabs at modern-day Tinseltown. “All the explosions — it doesn’t mean anything; after a while you don’t even notice them,” complains Daly to his daughter Emma (Carolyn Dodd) after the pair go to see some action-fest at the cinema. Emma’s response? “Dad, it’s in 3-D…it’s not supposed to mean anything.”
Media studies students writing about TV’s growing cultural influence may care to note that this remake of a movie, which parodies the culture of film and looks better than a lot of tales you might see on the big screen, is, of course, a television show. And Get Shorty certainly does enough to have Leonard fans sticking around for more “Action!”