Oceanís Eleven is a big ďso what?Ē of a movie. Itís all smooth coasting without an occasional jolt; smug when it ought to be witty.Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Dusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) assemble nine guys (the surveillance expert, the pick-pocket, the driver etc.) for a daring raid on a Las Vegas vault that houses the takings of three casinos. The casinos are owned by Terrence Benedict (Andy Garcia), who happens also to be dating the jealous Oceanís ex-wife (Julia Roberts). Well, they had to incorporate a woman into the plot somehow.
Oceanís Eleven is a remake of a 1960 ďrat packĒ film thatís reputedly not up to much. The sole rationale for Steven Soderberghís all-star version is an exercise in ďcoolĒ. Why bother? Weíve seen Soderbergh and Clooney do ďcoolĒ before, more successfully, in Out of Sight.
Clooney, Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle mostly stand around posing. Roberts is hopelessly miscast as a social-climbing mistress and art gallery curator. Itís only the actors who subvert the macho shtick that are any fun to watch: Elliott Gould as the camp Ď70s lounge lizard financier; Casey Affleck and Scott Caan as two competitive brothers with so much shared testosterone that every conversation ends in a brawl.
The outcome of this type of heist film is never in doubt, but there arenít enough surprises along the way Ė in acting or plot Ė to make Oceanís Eleven memorable. Ted Griffinís screenplay does feature a few amusingly sly cameos and jokes, and employing a Chinese acrobat to infiltrate the vault and evade the lasers is a refreshingly low-tech touch. But itís disappointing to see so many talented people posturing so much for so little purpose (besides making money).Oceanís Eleven provokes only the brief pleasure of admiring a smoothly polished machine.