**** (out of 5)
June 8, 2007
George Clooney as DANNY OCEAN
Brad Pitt as RUSTY RYAN
Matt Damon as LINUS CALDWELL
Al Pacino as WILLIE BANK
Elliott Gould as REUBEN TISHKOFF
Andy Garcia as TERRY BENEDICT
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
This summer’s revenge of the thirds has dropped another second sequel in the public’s lap. “Oceans 13” is very similar to the first two movies, and that makes sense because the cast is back with Soderbergh for another round.
I loved the first film, and I even enjoyed the second one. Still, while “Oceans Eleven” was an incredibly well constructed film, “Oceans Twelve” had some problems. The biggest issues I had with the film were with the French dude dancing his way past security lasers and that clever-yet-overdone joke about Julia Roberts’ pregnancy.
The French dude returns in “Oceans 13,” but Julia Roberts is mercifully absent. I’m not sure why, ‘cause she’s BFF with Soderbergh after he led her way to Oscar gold with “Erin Brockovich.” Maybe she was staying with her well publicized hiatus from acting, which is apparently over with five films in the works now. (Or maybe it was because her fragile ego was crushed after receiving harsh reviews for her theatre work.)
Either way, the decision to leave Roberts and all other extraneous characters out of the film was a brilliant one. Like many popular franchises, by the time you reach the third movie, there’s little need for characterization. Rather, audiences look forward to their favorite well-known characters doing what they do best.
We’ve been down the plot road before with “Oceans Eleven” and “Oceans Twelve.” Instead of shoehorning a plot that doesn’t belong, the film takes a nod from the James Bond films with Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore by just letting the movie have fun.
“Oceans 13” opens with Rueben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) in the hospital. His friends from previous heists, led by Danny Ocean (George Clooney), come to his bedside to learn that he’d been doublecrossed by his real estate partner Willie Bank (Al Pacino). Rueben was forced out of Bank’s hotel and casino deal on the Las Vegas strip, and now he’s destitute.
Ocean decides to make things right. He gathers together the whole gang, and they plan to get back at Bank by hitting him where it really hurts – in the bank. What follows is an elaborately constructed, yet strangely believable plan to pull a heist on the whole casino.
Soderbergh seems to be the only director right now who can successfully juggle so many characters at once. A nod also goes to big stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt. At several points in the movie, they take a back seat to other regulars, which is a relief because I was getting real tired of hearing Brad Pitt eat through his dialogue. Casey Affleck and Scott Caan have hilarious supporting roles, Bernie Mac lays it on thick as a cheesy dominoes dealer and Don Cheadle gets a chance to shine in some funnier parts of the film.
Several new characters also crop up, and all of them are great. Eddie Izzard shines a freelance consultant who helps Ocean plan the heist. However, the new cast member that really got my attention was Ellen Barkin, who plays Bank’s right hand man. I don’t care if the lady is in her 50s. She’s one of the sexiest women in Hollywood today, and she shows it off considerably in this film.
As far as the story goes, it’s way over the top, but still a lot of fun. The story is somewhat predictable, but I was okay with that. Like the aforementioned James Bond movies, it’s not about the reality of the situation but the fun you have watching it.