Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, September 22, 2008


OCEAN'S TWELVE (2004). Director: Steven Soderbergh.

As the remake of Sinatra's Ocean's 11 was better, cleverer, and more entertaining than the original (if not exactly a world-beater), there were some high hopes that Ocean's Twelve would surpass it. What we have instead is a sporadically entertaining film that goes on too long, is over-complicated, and gets too clever for its own good. The casino boss (Andy Garcia) that the gang robbed in the last picture threatens each member with death if they don't repay him the money they stole – with interest. They now have two weeks to raise or steal 197 million dollars! This brings them into competition with a French master thief in an attempt to steal a priceless Faberge egg. Catherine Zeta-Jones appears as an old girlfriend of Brad Pitt's who also happens to be a detective, and Julia Roberts is back as George Clooney's wife. To help steal the egg she has to pretend to be -- “Julia Roberts.” [This whole business, in which the real Bruce Willis – who knows the real Julia -- shows up to complicate matters is amusing but threatens to take over the whole picture.] The performances are okay, if minor, and Elliot Gould and Carl Reiner effortlessly steal the show in their few brief scenes. This is not without entertainment value, but it runs out of juice long before the conclusion.

Verdict: A bit too self-congratulatory. **.

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