Film ó Ocean's Twelve (PG-13)

Ocean's Twelve (PG-13)

by Amy Diaz

Steven Soderbergh corrals the old gang (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner and Bernie Mac, to name a few) and brings on new blood Catherine Zeta-Jones for the hey-kids-letís-travel-around-Europe-and-make-a-movie movie Oceanís Twelve.

Hmm, I want to go to Europe but I donít want to pay for it. I know, Iíll get a studio to foot the bill for my trips to Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and the Italian resort community Lake Como and Iíll make the sequel of something. Whatís the plot? Whatever, as long as the drinks keep coming.

If only I could come up with a business plan thatís that much fun.

Like Oceanís Eleven (the more recent one), Oceanís Twelve is feather-light and all about the style, the sizzle, the snark of its stars. It ups the ante from the first movie, however, by cutting even the whiffs of plot down to microscopic size and increasing the amount of self-referential clowning. Is Oceanís Twelve a bad movie? Probably. Will you care? Not really. Like wine from a jug, it still gets you tipsy.

Danny Ocean (Clooney) is trying to live the straight life with his wife-for-the-second-time Tess (Roberts) in a mansion of East Haven, Conn. Naturally, all he can think about is the coolness of that job he pulled that one time with those guys. Never fear, while discussing dinner plans via cell phone, Tess tells  Danny that the basement is flooded and the pilot light is out ó a code meaning Bellagio owner Terry Benedict (Garcia) is in the house. Benedict wants his money back and heís tracked down all members of Oceanís Eleven to tell them that they have two weeks to get it back to him.

The gang reassembles and decides that the best way to keep breathing is to return the money, with interest. This proves to be a difficult proposition because the group is now too well known to work in the U.S. and must resort to smaller payouts abroad. Once they get to Amsterdam, the site of the first job, they realize they have more problems than previously believed. First, their cover is at least partially blown by detective Isabel Lahiri (Jones), a former girlfriend of Rustyís (Pitt). Second, they realize that they were sold out to Benedict and are now being toyed with by another thief, the Night Fox (Vincent Cassell). He takes umbrage at the idea that Ocean and his crew might be better at the stealing game than he is. So, the struggle to pay-off Benedict comes to include a competition with this bravado-filled burglar.

Back in the day (1960), Oceanís Eleven was the time-killer for the perpetually two-drinks-in Rat Pack ó a way to pick up some cash and a reason to wake up before 5 p.m. between gigs at the Vegas casinos. Even more than its 2001 remake, this extension of the Oceanís legend captures that spirit of high-class goofing off. We smile just to see these guys on screen together. The chemistry between Clooney and Pitt is perfect to the very last drop. Damonís puppy-like Linus is a perfect foil, all eagerness and naivetť, for the older-brother-like ribbing of Pitt and Clooney. Roberts, though she disappears for most of the movie, gives as good as the boys when she does reappear. Jones manages to skirt the line between sassy and screwball with impressive skill.

Oceanís Twelve is nonsensical in its premise, ridiculous in its execution and undeniably fun throughout.

- Amy Diaz

 
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