The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Ocean's Twelve

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Judy Thorburn

Oceans Twelve

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“OCEANS 12” – DROWNS IN SELF-INDULGENCE

Even before viewing the movie I was getting sick of hearing about what a great time the stars had working together on the updated remake of Oceans 11.  George Clooney, Brad Pitt and other members of the star-studded cast have let it be known, to the rest of the world, what a “blast” it was “working” with each other, as they make their way through the talk show circuit from Jay Leno to Oprah etc. etc. promoting the sequel, Oceans 12.  That’s nice.  But, is their camaraderie reason enough to make a sequel? From where I sit in the audience, it’s like watching a party from afar.

From the start of the film there are problems.  In the opening, we find out that its been over three years since Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his band of sophisticated thieves hit the vaults of Las Vegas’s major casinos and walked away with over $160 million from Terry Benedict’s (Andy Garcia) hotsy totsy casino, the Bellagio. However, someone was a snitch.  Benedict being one angry dude sets out to get Ocean and each and every player and tracks them down with a threat.  He tells them they have two weeks to pay every penny back, with interest, or else. Or else, what? Have audiences forgotten that Benedict didn’t scare them in the first movie when they knew he was on to them?  So what’s the big deal, now? Oh, yes, they are scared he’s going to have them killed or rat them out to the authorities. Are we to believe these professional thieves would be so fearful to have to give back the fortune they stole? Anyway, that’s the premise, if you can buy it. I don’t.

Moving on with the story, all the guys, retired in wealth and scattered all over the country, appear to have no choice but to plan another theft, in order to repay Benedict.  Only this time, they plan on taking on Europe since they are too hot in the states. But, of course, complications must come into play.  Rusty’s (Pitt) recent lover, gorgeous Europol investgator, Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is on their trail, and another world-class thief, known as the “Night Fox” (Vincent Cassel) is in competition to beat them at their own game and prove he is better.  So sets the stage for a challenge among thieves.

The entire cast is back for this romp.  The (see how “cool” we are, it’s sickening) eleven include George and Brad along with Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle (cockney accent in tack), Bernie Mac, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck (yes, Ben’s kid brother), Eddie Jemison, and old timers Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould. But, we don’t get to see much of their characters individual skills being utilized in this caper.  And why? Because, much of the time is spent watching the guys standing around engaging in witty back and forth banter between themselves.  Obviously, a good script was secondary. I guess getting a chance to party with buddies in exotic locations like Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Lake Como, Italy, where Clooney just happens to own a magnificent villa, must have been the foremost reason to make this film.  Ocean’s 11’s plot made for an action packed, fun heist. Sure, the silly banter between stars was evident, but it wasn’t detracting. In Oceans 12, the in jokes and self indulgent dialogue are among the many distractions that include weak screenplay, plot holes, jumpy camerawork and confusing flashbacks and flash forwards, but not enough actual heist.

Most of the eleven have little to do besides chatting it up. And, if you blink, you might miss a totally wasted Bernie Mac, who was so funny last time around. But, I did get a (unintentional) good laugh from seeing Elliot Gould. What was he thinking? His look was unflattering, to say the least. Those oversized black glasses and haircut with short-cropped bangs made him appear like a fatter version of Jerry Lewis’ original Nutty Professor.

But, enough about the men.  Catherine Zeta Jones has the biggest part and works it, unlike her vacation minded costars. No surprise, the gorgeous diva doesn’t have a scene with Ms. Julia, who looks awful.  Where were her makeup people? No wonder she is taking a leave from movies. Forget that excuse about being a stay at home mom since giving birth.

Anyway, Julia, as Tess, Ocean’s wife, and number 12 of the title, comes in handy for a ridiculous sequence that allows her to her make fun of her real Hollywood star self. Without giving much away, suffice to say it is not only unbelievable and stupid it also involves Bruce Willis, who plays himself.  Did I mention this movie is an exercise in self-indulgence?

If seeing a bunch of A-list actors having a grand old time in pretty locations is all you need, then go for it.  I’d rather spend my time watching home movies.  As for me, I feel taken, like the casino mogul.  The only real heist comes from the filmmaker and stars that make out like a bandit from moviegoers’ wallets.