ocean's 12 movie review

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  • 7/31/2019 Ocean's 12 movie review


    Oceans Twelve(2004)

    I thought Oceans Eleven (the 2001 version) was a nice piece of star-studded fluff, basicallylighthearted fun. I didnt really get into the movie until I had been to Vegas, however, and

    now I enjoy it quite a bit. Ive also become fonder of some of the actors involved in the film(most notably Mssrs Pitt and Damon), so I looked forward to this heist film a little more

    than I did the first.

    Oceans Twelve is pretty much second verse, same as the first which is fine, if thats whatyoure in the market for. The same easy camaraderie, the same joking between pals, the

    same clever set ups and the same bit with fooling the audience toward the middle of thefilm. It all follows the first film with some minor variations, which is exactly what most

    people want and indeed expect in a sequel.

    Clooney is back as the charismatic leader of the group of thieves (who balk in a very funnyscene at being referred to as Oceans Eleven) who find themselves with not one nemesis in

    this film, but three; not only is Andy Garcia back as Terry Benedict (in a far smaller role),but Danny and the gang must contend with a Europol officer out to get them, one IsabelLahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) as well as competing with a fellow thief, the Nightfox (Vincent

    Cassel, playing, as he usually does, another smarmy prick). The entire crew returns Matt

    Damon, Brad Pitt, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Scott Caan, etc., and theres evena sort of extended cameo for Julia Roberts.

    The good times roll with the gang as we get to see how each of them is spending his part of

    the fortune pilfered in the first movie as, one by one, Benedict tracks them down. Thereunion happens fairly quickly and most of the best scenes in the film involve the group allgathered together, where everyone is bitching at one another playfully, jibing one another,

    and throwing out ideas. These scenes have a wonderful ad-libbed quality to them, and theycarry the first hour or so of the picture, from the moment everyone realizes theyre in

    trouble to the time they pull off their first heist together. The first hour is a pure fun treat.

    Its in the second hour that Oceans Twelve wanders a bit astray. Not content with anotherheist, the plot puts them in competition with uber-Europrick Nightfox, who is rich, wellconnected, an amazing thief, etc. This whole part felt a tad contrived, and while the

    planning of the second heist is fun, the actual execution of it is painful. Julia Roberts comes

    in for a subplot so stupid and silly it seems lifted from a Wayans Brothers spoof of thegenre, complete with ham-handed acting and a wholly unnecessary cameo by Bruce Willis(Pitt, Clooney, Roberts, Damon, Zeta-Jones you dont have enough star power already?).

    The movie temporarily descends into pratfall comedy, away from the clever verbal jabs and

    situational shorthand it employed so effectively until then. It sort of recovers, but not

    entirely, and the movie feels a little shabby afterward (not a help that Roberts and Clooney

    come off as smarmy in the final confrontation with Cassel).

    The acting is by and large fine. Clooney takes a smaller role but hes still good. Pitts

    character is deepened a little even though he too seems to have less screen time than thefirst one. Elliot Gould is exceedingly sharp; a lot of his one-liners are incredibly funny. Carl

    Reiner isnt around enough, but when he is, hes hysterical. Damon has to shoulder a lot ofthe load and he does so very well, playing the nervous rookie perfectly. Roberts is okay, but

    I so thoroughly disliked what they did with her toward the end that its hard for me tojudge. A big surprise was how sharp Catherine Zeta-Jones was, and yet how well she fit in

  • 7/31/2019 Ocean's 12 movie review


    with this established group. Isabel was a welcome addition to the movie and is give a

    surprising amount of backstory and depth. She really stands out, which, even though shes

    the only woman in the bulk of the film, is still a real feat with this cast.

    By and large the film is light fun, easy on the brain and the eyes, and a good fun time.

    Nothing especially deep, but thats never the intent. Aside from the one extended SNL-bad

    gig with Roberts, I would recommend it; that bad part was enough to make me say that itsstill worth seeing, but you could wait for the DVD. I dont care to be jarred out of a film so

    blatantly, especially one where a nice warm feeling of clever companionship had been socraftily composed in the first leg of the movie. But your mileage may vary. Its probably

    worth at least a matinee to see some of the biggest movie stars of the day having fun withone another.

    December 11, 2004