Stars: John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, David Paymer. Written by Scott Frank. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Rated R for profanity, violence, adult themes.

John Travolta, in a virtual reprise of his role in the head-scratching hit "Pulp Fiction", plays Miami loan shark Chili Palmer in the film "Get Shorty". Chili is sent by boss Ray "Bones" Barboni (Dennis Farina) to Los Angeles to collect on a debt owed by film producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). Film buff that he is, Chili decides to work with Zimm on Zimm's hot new project instead of insisting upon payment. Whether that film or one Chili has come up with based on his real-life experiences tracking down a mild-mannered dry cleaner (David Paymer) gets made is the main focus of story. Danny DeVito plays the sought- after, big name star that Zimm and company would love to anchor their production.

If it didn't try so hard to be hip, "Get Shorty" would have been a much better picture. Barry Sonnenfeld, the director of "The Addams Family" and "For Love or Money", squeezes too many sly grins out of lead John Travolta while trying to cram in too much of a plot that veers all over the road. It may be original, but hip it's not.

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