Ocean’s Twelve

The plot of Ocean’s Eleven, the remake from a couple of years ago, not the original, barely made sense. This didn’t matter because it was such a stylish exercise in celebrity worship, you didn’t mind that it was lighter than french pastry. The plot of Ocean’s Twelve makes even less sense. And even more so, Steven Soderbergh, the director, is betting on our eagerness to see movie stars having fun with each other to overcome our desire to appreciate a good story.

For what it’s worth, here’s the set up. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is in trouble. Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) the guy he ripped off in Eleven, has somehow traced down every member of the team. He wants his money back with interest and he has the means to make life unpleasant for all of them. The solution-pull a job in Europe. There really isn’t much else to say, except that they are being chase by beautiful Europol detective Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta Jones). This is the kind of film that’s filled with one plot twist you don’t quite understand after another.

First of all, the producer deserves some kind of award for getting this cast back together. Just juggling all those schedules must have been a nightmare. Not to mention talking everybody into taking less money. Working at their usual salaries, a movie with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and…well, I won’t mention the other big, big star, because it’s a surprise…talking in Steven Soderbergh’s living room would top 100 million. By all accounts it was the promise of an extended vacation in europe with other beautiful, lively celebs that did the trick. It’d do it for me.

So what were the results?

Surprisingly good, actually. They do a decent job of making you forget the utter nonsense of the plot and concentrate on the one liners, the beautiful locales, and the stylistic look of the film. But it’s an epehmeral thing, relying too heavily on topical humor. Really, in 20 years who is going to get the Kabbalah joke? In five years? So see Ocean’s Twelve now because by the time it comes out on DVD, it may be passe’.

In a way, this is apt. The original Ocean’s Eleven was more successful as a source of anecdotes about Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack than it was as a movie. I bet we’ll be hearing a lot of funny stories about this production for longer than any of us want to see the movie.


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December 2004
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