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"Ocean's Twelve"

Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Written by George Nolfi.
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Release Year:  2004
Review Date:  12/12/04


I gave "Ocean's Eleven" a Hard Vice because, given its pedigree of talent, a less-than-perfect movie would be inexcusable.  Okay, that was harsh, but hey, a man's got to have standards, you know?  With "Ocean's Twelve", the need to make a sequel based on cool guys hangin' out stealin' stuff seemed like pure vanity, but I'm willing to sit through something like that if everything comes off as cool as the concept.

Happily, "Ocean's Twelve" does that.  Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his ten thieving buddies are enjoying the high life when old nemesis Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) comes to each man's door demanding they pay back the, oh, $160 million they stole from Benedict three years ago.  Many of the men have blown all of their booty, so to pay Benedict back in the two-week deadline that hovers over them, Ocean and his crew devise a new strategy to come up with the money.

The plot is so ridiculous once the men find themselves in Europe trying to steal $160 million worth of goods that if I try to write about it now, I might have a heart attack.  Worse, the convoluted way the men get the money back still doesn't make any sense to me, in part because I wasn't really paying attention to all that once more key points are raised in the second half of the movie.  To top off the ridiculousness (yes, that's a word), Ocean and Co. must go up against a rival rich guy thief (Vincent Cassel, famous Frenchie from movies like "Irreversible") and in one two-minute sequence, we actually watch him dance his way through the most complicated laser-security system ever.  Wow.

I was willing to let things like this to get to me in the first film, but in "Ocean's Twelve", you almost don't have time to sweat things like this because this movie is so cool.  Watching this continuous "Wild On" / GQ commercial was just plain cool.  I don't know how else to say it.  I did what I always do when I watch movies with obviously cool people are acting together--I wondered what these guys were doing in-between takes or after a long shooting day; man, can't you see Clooney, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Don Cheadle just hangin' out in Amsterdam?  Or Matt Damon, Bernie Mac and Scott Caan chillin' at a nightclub?  That would just be some funny shit.  And, director Steven Soderbergh has most of his fun in this film watching the guys on Ocean's team just bantering, like they've been stealing together their whole lives.  In a hilarious sequence, the guys are in a train station contemplating their next move...but all the guys seem to be talking about is Danny Ocean's hair.

Ocean, to Basher (Cheadle):  "Do I look like I'm 50?"
Basher:  "Well, uh...from. the neck up."  [Gives confused look, puts headphones back on]

And, those clothes?  Man, at one point, somebody refers to Rusty (Pitt) as either a pimp or a playboy, but Pitt just soaks it up, from the continuous smirk to the too-cool-for-words attitude to the charm.  Cheadle's clothes always impress; somebody in the costume department even made me like Casey Affleck in this movie.  For once, I was not that impressed by Zeta-Jones; she was so stunning in "Intolerable Cruelty", but here, she's washed out a little bit by having to always wear suits everywhere.  Blah.

And, that music?  Just a few minutes ago I was browsing iTunes to see if the "Ocean's Twelve" soundtrack was online; I will be buying a couple of those songs ASAP.  Very cool stuff; a good match to the caper action going on.  Little in-jokes, like the Tess-as-Julia-Roberts gag, were clever; some good cameos were on-point as well.

There are many things wrong with this film, but I don't remember all of them now, because everything was stone-cold chillin'.  It's too long, I do remember that.  I do remember being disappointed that there wasn't more Bernie Mac.  I remember not liking that there were too many Rusty-and-the-cop-were-romantic scenes.  Nothing too major, but those moments stood out.

Hey, you're going to do worse this holiday season, so lap "Ocean's Twelve" up while you can.  Good times, especially if you like looking at cool famous people.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09