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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.33%
Worth A Look57.14%
Average: 18.37%
Pretty Bad: 2.04%
Total Crap: 6.12%

5 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Ocean's Thirteen
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by Erik Childress

"Going Through The Motion Of The Ocean."
4 stars

As Steven Soderbergh’s career has been strewn with the make-one-for-them/they’ll-make-one-for-you adage, the Ocean’s series was unfairly lumped into the former. At least in the beginning. Certainly gathering a powerhouse cast of actors, at least four of whom could open a movie with their name alone, was a coup at a time of battling salaries and was the closest assemblage to a box office home run that you could find. With Ocean’s Eleven though, Soderbergh and company gave us more than just a colorful personnel and a bubblegum plot. There was an old-style wit and a class that elevated the kind of sin city vacation that the original Rat Pack had established with their repetoire. After Soderbergh and Clooney continued their partnership into the undervalued arthouse sci-fi flop, Solaris, they got the band back together and took a literal vacation to Europe, leaving all traces of a script back home and slapped a sequel title on it for Ocean’s Twelve. A Good German later and the team is back for a third and perceived final time in the place where it all started. Despite all the negative feelings for the Twelve, there is still money to be made for this franchise and at least this time, they’re giving something back to the audience.

The gang’s mentor and original financier, Reuben (Elliott Gould), has entered into a discouraged buyout with casino tycoon, Willie Bank (Al Pacino). After being doublecrossed and practically broken, Reuben suffers a stroke and leaves Danny Ocean (George Clooney) & Rusty (Brad Pitt) plotting a course of revenge. Bank’s monstrosity of a casino (hilariously ridiculous even by Vegas standards) is approaching its grand opening and they are working on a new way to rid it of its cashflow. By rigging every casino game in the joint (and even adding a new one), it doesn’t matter who wins as long as they leave the tables with as much of Bank’s money as possible. The owner’s ego is also under attack as his obsession with winning a diamond-crusted business trophy is enough of a distraction for him not to notice that Ocean’s people are right under his nose.

Nothing comes easy in Vegas though, even if Ocean & Co. make it seem so. They’ve lost one of the twelve in Julia Roberts, who gets the standard one-line dropoff for non-returning cast. “It’s not their fight,” conveniently drops Mrs. Ocean and Catherine Zeta’s Isabel from the proceedings. But in their absence, the script finds a little more time for Eddie Izzard’s Roman Nagel (not nearly enough for big Izzard fans, but a welcome increase nonetheless) and a way for them to seek out assistance from their original nemesis, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Since Bank’s hotel casts a shadow over his pool, it’s enough for the reconciled, yet still untrusting Benedict to invest in their project while adding a few conditions that ups the risk involved.

Everyone can go on and on about how convoluted the Pirates of the Caribbean series became, but it doesn’t really hold a candle to how dense the plotting becomes in these films. Ocean’s Twelve literally had to go back and explain that the caper had been fulfilled halfway through the movie and the last hour was nothing but their exit strategy. Ted Griffin’s original (remake) script cleverly hid many of its subtle twists until it was ready to shift our viewpoint. Thirteen’s script by Rounders’ scribes Brian Koppelman & David Levien goes for that spirit but too often smiles and lets us know what they’re holding, especially in the case of an FBI agent whose casting, while welcome, works against them from the beginning.

Another major problem is Al Pacino’s Willie Bank. What should have been a casting coup turns into a rather mellow imitation of Garcia’s far more menacing and interesting villain from Eleven. If ever a role cried out for Pacino’s mentality for outlandish tirades, this is THE one. Instead it’s a rather flaccidly written role - a rich guy with the occasional strongarm tactic – that everyone must have been so excited to get an actor of Pacino’s stature for, that at least six of the crew (by my memory) get to have at least one individual scene to act with him. The same goes for Bank’s right-hand woman played by Ellen Barkin, filling the female void left by Roberts & Zeta. She needs to be a pit bull, not just a “yes” woman who gets all girly over a new phone arriving. While it may be amusing to watch Barkin, an actress whose better portion of her career was identified by her powerful sexual identity, swoon underneath the drugged-up charms of Matt Damon, it doesn’t match its intended payoff since it didn’t seem that far of a trip. The writers missed on all cylinders here since it would have been funnier to watch Damon’s Linus, notoriously the out-of-the-loop guy determined to prove his worth, be smothered by the “cougar”-like prowess of a woman in charge in a guy’s world.

Where Ocean’s Thirteen misses its chances to match the spark of the original, it equalizes itself with the relaxed interplay amongst the actors. As the new version of the Rat Pack’s Hollywood Cool (right down to their collective political backings), Clooney’s boys personify Vegas from its extravagance down to doing just enough to stay ahead. With a couple nice nods to the Chairman of the Board himself, I believe they’d have no problem getting the torch approval from the man himself. And once you have him, you’re golden, so who cares what the ramblings of an internet/radio critic amount to? If I’m being honest, the third entry is a truly mixed affair from an artistic standpoint, but at least there was some art involved after the disasterously inclusive second chapter. I certainly enjoyed myself in spite of its flaws, laughing quite heartily with the cast’s breezy skills at light comedy from the incitement of our border neighbors to the emotional reaction to maybe the female heir to Sinatra’s media empire. If you’re a Vegas enthusiast, it’s easy to appreciate it as an up-and-down affair that provides more than a few laughs and even if you leave a loser, you still say you had a good time.

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originally posted: 06/08/07 14:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/28/08 mr,mike Found it more enjoyable than the first 2. 4 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Worst film I've seen in years. Boring & easily the dumbest plot ever conceived! 1 stars
1/31/08 Beck Lucky Number 13 4 stars
1/19/08 Pamela White awesome drama 4 stars
11/19/07 Erica Munro LOVED IT 5 stars
10/24/07 William Goss Great shots, sets, score, all atop an impressively, eventually executed heist. End it here. 4 stars
10/14/07 Private Surprisingly dull and uninvolving. Merely average. 3 stars
8/12/07 Quigley One of the smartest three-quels all year and one of the best. It still can't beat part 1 4 stars
7/23/07 wordtoya the movie was basically a con being the oprah scenario- it left the audience feeling good 1 stars
7/09/07 Edwin Menguin Too much set-up, not enough pay-off 3 stars
6/28/07 gr117 They overcompensated for the lack of plot in the sequel. Overall, though, not bad. 4 stars
6/25/07 Russell A boring, lame, tedious, money-grabbing act of pure self-indulgence. Don't waste your time. 1 stars
6/22/07 Ole Man Bourbon So implausible I expected them to blow up China at some point, but I didn't walk out. 3 stars
6/15/07 Sue Light What's not to like?? To quote - "it's not rocket science!" 4 stars
6/15/07 Anthony G What a movie should be, entertaining. 4 stars
6/14/07 erenik lorenci great movie 5 stars
6/11/07 jean sangrid boring, too long. i about fell asleep 2 stars
6/10/07 Benjamin Better than the last one, but nowhere near as fun or zingy or original as the first. 4 stars
6/09/07 KingNeutron Hollywood is finally making up for last year's crapfest. 4 stars
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  08-Jun-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Nov-2007



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