Too Many Thieves
After being disappointed with the 2001 remake of Oceanís Eleven, I still had high hopes for its sequel. Always the eternal optimist, I felt certain the heist scenes in Oceanís Twelve would be much better, and I expected the charismatic Andy Garcia to be on camera more. Wrong on both counts. Thereís not one pearl inside this glitzy oyster.
However, things start out with some promise. Retired master thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) plans to surprise his wife Tess (Julia Roberts) with an impressive anniversary present. Instead, heís the one who gets the big surprise. Casino boss Terry Benedict (Garcia) insists that Danny and his gang pay back the 160 million dollars they stole from him in the first movie -- and he gives them only two weeks to do so. Because the eleven thieves have spent most of their loot from the original heist, they must pull off another one to meet Terryís demands. So far, so good. But from this point on, plot confusion and lazy pacing take over to subvert the filmís entertainment potential.
Burdened with the same baggage as Oceanís Eleven, this sequel suffers from too may characters. Even with a running time of over two hours, Oceanís Twelve canít do justice to its star-packed cast. Along with Clooney and Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan and Shabo Qin are back for a second big heist caper. In addition, Catherine Zeta-Jones appears as a Europol agent and Rustyís (Pitt) former girlfriend, Vincent Cassel plays another master thief, and cameos (Bruce Willis, Robbie Coltrane, Albert Finney, Eddie Izzard, Topher Grace, Cherry Jones) are interspersed throughout.
Yes, everyone seems to be having a great time -- itís like one big in-group celebration. But not much worked for me here. I couldnít help being appalled with sentences as well as scenes left unfinished, and I hated those trumpets and drums constantly assaulting my eardrums (an attempt to cover up the lack of excitement on screen?). Surprisingly, despite the filmís noisy soundtrack, the person sitting next to me dozed off frequently. Fortunately for him, he missed the unexplained shot of an airplane flying sideways. Maybe Iím being too picky, but cinematic gimmickry like that always bothers me.
On the plus side, the European locations look gorgeous. Also, my compliments to Matt Damon for at least trying to give his character (the newest member of the gang who thinks he should now have more influence) some semblance of humanity and to the two actors who made me smile by portraying themselves in the best part of Oceanís Twelve. And, even though the filmís trick ending seems farfetched, itís clever. It just didnít come soon enough for me.
(Released by Warner Bros. and rated ďPG-13Ē for language.)