November 19, 2007

Mini-review: "Ocean's Twelve"

(Now that winter is here in Chicago, I am doing a lot more reading and movie-watching, and a lot less bicycling and other exercise; among other things, it means a lot more genre projects I've taken on purely for pleasure, and other projects I don't feel like sitting down and writing a full review concerning. Hence this series of mini-reviews, none of which are longer than a couple of hundred words. To see the full combined list of all mini-reviews [books and movies], click here.)

Oceans Twelve

Ocean's Twelve (movie; 2004)
Written by George Nolfi
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

All right, I admit it; I really love a well-done caper movie, despite whatever weaknesses that might come with that particular genre (like dialogue and characters that usually aren't that well-thought-out, for one example). And that's why I love Steven Soderbergh's 2001 remake of Rat Pack classic Ocean's Eleven, because it contains about as many fetishes of a caper film that a fan would ever want, all of them done in extremely smart and stylish ways; the expensive suits, the exotic locales, the insanely complicated plot, the various twists and surprises, the devilishly handsome antihero cads ultimately getting away with it, but only at the last second and only through an ingenious development at the end. Turns out that Soderbergh is great at delivering all that, despite making his reputation on edgy and challenging films; and especially when you add longtime collaborator George Clooney to the mix, starring as the devilishly handsome thief Danny Ocean of the series' title.

So that's what makes its 2004 sequel, Ocean's Twelve, so damn disappointing; because it's not a caper movie at all, turns out, but a whole convoluted story about the team supposedly failing, masking a whole other story that you never hear word one about until the last five minutes of the movie. It's clever to be sure, but doesn't deliver any of the caper-movie fetishes listed above, which ultimately makes it disappointing; and in fact, given the cavalier feel of the entire movie from start to finish, feels almost more like an expensive excuse for Clooney and Soderbergh and all their pals to chum around Europe all summer together on someone else's dime than it does a real movie. Cannonball Run for the millennium, maybe, starring a bunch of people you used to actually have a lot of respect for? The seven-freaking-minute scene at the end of this movie, of the group doing nothing but laughing and drinking and playing poker after their successful adventure, sure gives credence to that idea.

Out of 10: 4.9

Filed by Jason Pettus at 12:30 PM, November 19, 2007. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |