US Release Date: 12-10-2004
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
- George Clooney, as
- Danny Ocean
- Brad Pitt, as
- Rusty Ryan
- Julia Roberts, as
- Tess Ocean
- Andy Garcia, as
- Terry Benedict
- Matt Damon, as
- Linus Caldwell
- Bernie Mac, as
- Frank Catton
- Casey Affleck, as
- Virgil Malloy
- Don Cheadle, as
- Basher Tarr
- Carl Reiner, as
- Saul Bloom
- Elliott Gould, as
- Reuben Tishkoff
- Vincent Cassel, as
- Francois Toulour
- Catherine Zeta-Jones, as
- Isabel Lahiri
- Eddie Izzard, as
- Roman Nagel
- Robbie Coltrane, as
- Scott Caan as
- Turk Malloy
George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt in Ocean's Twelve.
Ocean's Eleven was a great example of style over substance. A group of attractive movie stars breezed through a lightweight plot. Ocean's Twelve, its sequel, is more of the same, only this time the original eleven travel to Europe instead of Las Vegas where a few new faces get added to the mix.
The movie jumps straight into the paper-thin plot. Benedict (Garcia), the man whose $160 million was stolen in the first movie, has located the scattered eleven and demands the return of his money with interest. To raise the cash the group decides to do another job and so head to Europe where they're not known as well. Once there they become involved with a beautiful Europol agent (Zeta-Jones) who also happens to be Rusty's (Pitt) ex-girlfriend, and an Italian master-thief (Cassel) who challenges Ocean to a contest to see who is the greater thief.
But all that activity is just the background really. The point of the movie isn't its plot, but the banter between the characters, such as the argument when they first reunite over why the group's called "Ocean's Eleven". And the movie is very democratic in that each of the characters is given some funny dialogue, even those played by the lesser-known actors and gives ample screen time to each, with Matt Damon and Julia Roberts being given the largest increase over the first movie.
The real con of Ocean's Twelve is that it's a real movie where real rules apply. It's not. It is all sleight of hand designed to keep you from paying attention to pesky little things like plot holes and over the top scenes. Look at the beautiful people, laugh at their witty remarks, and don't look over here. And to be fair, they are beautiful and they are witty. This is a movie for enjoying, not analyzing.
It's also a movie that's obviously having fun with itself as demonstrated in one scene where Tess (Roberts) impersonates Julia Roberts. An act that goes well until she runs into Bruce Willis (playing himself) and he wants to call Julia's assistant about a lost toy, and you've got Julia Roberts portraying Tess, impersonating Julia, talking on a cell phone to Julia Roberts playing Julia Roberts. When the scene was filmed Julia had just become pregnant, but now she should have been 8 months pregnant, so Tess plays Julia with a pillow stuffed up her dress. Of course in real life, Roberts delivered twins already, a month early, thus spoiling the joke slightly.
Other good actors appear in smaller parts. Topher Grace returns in a very funny scene at the beginning of the movie. And Robbie Coltrane and British comedy genius Eddie Izzard both have small parts that serve to push the plot along.
At this time of year when so many serious Oscar contending movies are being released, it's nice to watch a movie like this one that doesn't have the slightest pretension; a movie that you can just watch and enjoy.
Julia Roberts impersonates Julia Roberts in Ocean's Twelve.
If you enjoy this kind of movie. I do not. There are too many people with too much going on. There is never enough time spent with any one character to give a damn about any of them. Julia Roberts imitating herself is worth watching but her character's relationship to Clooney is flat.
The secret to enjoying this movie is finding at least one character in the bunch to like or at least enjoy watching. For me it is Matt Damon as Linus. He has some good comedic scenes. When talking to Coltrane in the bar he has no clue what to say so he does a line from Lost in Translation, "Oh let the sun beat down upon my face.." He adds greatly to the scene where Tess imitates a pregnant Julia Roberts, "Protect your fake baby, protect your fake baby." he reminds her as they walk quickly through a crowd. The scene near the end with his mom is good as well.
When Linus asks Tess to imitate Julia Roberts they briefly discuss that it is morally wrong to do it. These people are a bunch a criminals. Why do they see stealing as right yet imitating someone as wrong? The characters in this movie are so charming that we, the audience, root for them. We are rooting for the bad guys. It is a joke that criminals are discussing morals. It also illustrates how easily looks and charms can win people over. If the eleven robbers were unattractive and crude would we care if they got caught or not?
Clooney, Gould, Pitt and Cheadle behind bars in Ocean's Twelve.
What a lame attempt to cash in on Ocean's Eleven. At least Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack changed things up by playing technically different characters in a variety of time periods in their pictures. This is just a rehash of the first movie and not as good. This is symptomatic of what has ailed Hollywood for a very long time, but has only become a serious malady since the dawn of this new millennium; namely sequelitis. Let's repackage the story, add a number to the title and peddle the same old shit to audiences. I'm fed up with it. And I have yet to review Ocean's Thirteen!
The scene in Tess's hotel room with Bruce Willis features a snide little inside joke. Matt Damon as Linus says to Willis, (referring to Tess as Julia Roberts) “We're looking to come off this pregnancy thing strong. You know that little statue on the mantle starts smirking at you after a while. Know what I mean?” Willis answers “no” because unlike Damon and Roberts he has never won an Oscar.
Both my brother's already mentioned this sequence but I will elaborate even more as these are the only scenes that exude any sort of freshness. Julia Roberts, as Tess, impersonating herself, Julia Roberts – the movie star, is a bizarre blurring of the line between reality and movie fantasy. In the realm of the story it makes little sense since the filmmakers are only now acknowledging the fact that Tess just happens to look exactly like the actress playing her. A coincidence that was never before brought up by any of the characters in either this movie or the previous one.
Still it produces more bang for its entertainment buck than any other sequence in the entire movie. Linus: “Just think Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Tess: “She wasn't in Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Linus: “'I'. 'I wasn't in Four Weddings and a Funeral'!”
The details of the convoluted caper involving the theft of a priceless Fabergé Egg aren't important. As Scott and Eric pointed out this is all about the personal style of the stars and their amusing interplay. Only we've seen it all before ad nauseam. Still, as long as these sequels keep raking in the dough, I wouldn't bet against the likelihood of an Ocean's Fourteen.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. (2004)