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Ocean's Twelve
2004 - PG-13 - 130 Mins.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Producer: Jerry Weintraub
Written By: George Nolfi
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Vincent Cassel, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, Shaobo Qin, Eddie Jemison, Bruce Willis, Jereon Krabbe, Eddie Izzard, Cherry Jones
Review by: Carl Langley
Official Site: oceans12.warnerbros.com/flash.html
   

Now who get's the highest paycheck?
It looks like the cast of “Ocean’s Twelve” was getting a paid vacation when they signed on for the sequel to the smash hit of 2001, “Ocean’s Eleven.” Everyone who played a significant part in the first film is back for a second helping, including the casino owner, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). But two new stars have hopped on for the flight overseas: sexy French star Vincent Cassel, who plays the thief “The Night Fox,” and Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, who plays Europol agent Isabel Lahiri (and lost love of Brad Pitt’s character, Rusty Ryan.) Add these to the alluring original eleven and you got yourself the coziest and the most frivolous crime caper yet.

Three years have passed since Ocean’s Eleven ripped off millions from Terry Benedict and his three Las Vegas casinos. Now, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is living in marital bliss with his wife Tess (Julia Roberts), semi-retired and looking to celebrate his three-year anniversary – for the second time. Terry, who has been informed of the gang’s whereabouts, gives Tess a visit at the Ocean house, which forces Tess to pass a coded message to Danny over the cell phone: “There's water in the basement and the pilot light is out.” This means they are in trouble, and eventually Terry descends upon the rest of the gang, poking them with his unnecessary walking cane, explaining they owe, with interest, $19 million each (he actually was repaid every cent from the insurance, but he feels the need for revenge). This whole sequence is implausible, but it is acceptable because it gives the viewer a chance to re-visit each character.

Turns out that Rueben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) is the only one who spent his money wisely, playing the stock market at the appropriate time while the rest of the gang slid into serious debt. Since they are too opprobrious in America, they head over to Europe, forced to steal items to make up for the money they originally stole and spent. How clever; maybe they can head to Australia in the third installment.

Soderbergh’s new installment of the Rat Pack-inspired heist flick seems tedious near the beginning, but after a while, it picks up the pace and never looks back. After setting up the story, Soderbergh and fresh screenwriter, George Nolfi (whose only previous credit was “Timeline”), juxtapose the suspenseful heist film with wry humor that nudges the film along.

With the abundance of prestigious actors in “Ocean’s Twelve,” it's predictable that some of them are going to lose out screen time. In this case, Bernie Mac and Carl Reiner get the cut, with the former spending most of his time in prison. Julia Roberts, excepting for her beginning scene, seems to be totally out of the picture, until the end when she participates in a self-implicating riff on the stress of fame.

Typically this film would be labeled under the genre, crime thriller. Yet, “Ocean’s Twelve” could work as a comedy as well because there are several witty moments throughout the film. There is a scene where, as a practical joke, Danny and Rusty take Linus (Matt Damon) to meet with an important contact (Robbie Coltrane) and they talk a whole bunch of nonsense, leaving Linus, who wanted a more “central role,” confused.

“Ocean’s Twelve” feels more like an independent film, which comes as a surprise, given the A-list cast and gag cameos. The shots of the exotic locations and the fancy style of Soderbergh’s direction help carry that unique indie atmosphere. Soderbergh is always well versed in his methods of direction and his handling of stardom. This does not allow showboating for any of the stars or the director; instead, it is merely a fluff film with engaging characters acting with ease around a decent script. “Ocean’s Twelve” is extremely enjoyable, especially for those who appreciated the first film.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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