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Overall Rating
3.86

Awesome: 26.85%
Worth A Look43.06%
Just Average: 21.76%
Pretty Crappy: 5.56%
Sucks: 2.78%

15 reviews, 126 user ratings


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Ocean's Eleven (2001)
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by Andrew Howe

"Plenty of glory, but no guts."
3 stars

Now heres a concept for the ages: Joe The Thing Cabot from Reservoir Dogs decides its time for another heist, but since hes sick of employing deadbeats he makes it his mission to assemble the best-looking crew the world has ever seen. He instructs them to address each other by ludicrous code names (Daniel Ocean, Turk Malloy, Rusty Ryan, Basher Tarr), pits them against a Vegas heavyweight who came top of the class at the School of Smooth, and defuses the heat from the PC police by banning discussions containing excessive use of four-letter words, violent activity that results in irreparable bodily harm and anything resembling realistic interpersonal conflict. What he ends up with is two hours of pleasant entertainment that your grandmother could watch without raising an eyebrow, but occasionally leaves you wishing that Mr. Blonde would waltz on in to give the boys a little backbone.

Most successful heist films follow the same basic blueprint assemble a group of likeable criminals, ask them to pull a job that any right-thinking individual would consider impossible, then sit back and wait for the fireworks to start. Our enjoyment is derived from watching these disparate individuals attempt to act like a tightly knit unit (their number should ideally include at least one loose cannon who threatens to blow the whole thing apart), involving ourselves in the meticulous planning, and soaking up the knife-edge tension during the actual heist, which should never go according to plan.

This effectively summarises the plot of Oceans Eleven, but its a long way removed from the gritty realism that underpinned the likes of Ronin and The Killing. Its touted as an enjoyable romp, which means that we should never be given reason to believe that the characters are in any real danger, and theres certainly no ear-slicing psychos on the guest list. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and at least its honest about what its trying to achieve (as opposed to The Score, which duped us into believing it was a serious affair until the limp climax put the lie to the notion), so provided you set your expectations at that level you wont be entirely disappointed.

Much has been made of the films status as a remake of a 1960s Rat Pack vehicle - to the best of my knowledge the major players dont get together every weekend to paint the town red (St Elmos Fire was one of the few recent films that actually brought together a group of actors intent on driving each other into rehab), and since theyre unlikely to find the time for an onscreen reunion theres little point in debating their merits as an ongoing ensemble. We are, however, entitled to assume that the proceedings will be invested with the same degree of high-level cool that Ol Blue Eyes and his cronies allegedly brought to the table, a task which is certainly not beyond the top-billed performers.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts dont need anyones assistance to pull an audience, so the prospect of watching them strut their stuff in the same film is suitably enticing. The roles are no great stretch - Clooney acting like a streetwise version of 007, Pitt playing low-level tough, Damon wandering around like an innocent abroad, and Roberts walking over her infatuated admirers with sharpened stilettos - and theyve all done it better elsewhere, but the chemistry that apparently existed on the set translates to the screen, leaving you with the impression that youre spending time with a circle of friends whove invited you to join the party.

Unfortunately, the name of the film isnt Oceans Four, so there are seven other major characters and sundry hangers-on vying for the available screen time. Don Cheadle and Carl Reiner stamp their imprint on the film, but the remaining members of the crew fade into the background until theyre trundled out for their sixty seconds of fame. However, Andy Garcia fans will be in seventh heaven hes always hovered on the fringes of greatness, and his charismatic performance as the ostensible villain leaves the big-name competition choking on his dust.

The notion that were spending time with hip and happenin dudes is supported by director Steven Soderbergh and his production team, who know an evocative location when they see one. The film plays out against a backdrop of bustling casinos, old-style greyhound tracks and mansions built on the life savings of punters who thought they were on to a sure thing - its a vision of Vegas as it should be, painting over the cracks of the vaguely depressing reality, and lends the film an enjoyable atmosphere of excess and opportunity.

While Reiner, Clooney and Garcia invest their roles with a life that belies the sketchy scripting, none of the characters are particularly involving. Theyre never permitted to behave like real people, and the chemistry between the cast members is wasted by the scripts failure to provide us with intriguing interpersonal relations theres the odd raised voice and a dash of male bonding, but for the remaining running time theyre the most depressingly civil group of miscreants ever assembled under one roof. We shouldnt judge scriptwriter Ted Griffen (the brains behind the intriguing mess that was Ravenous) too harshly, however, since hes hamstrung by the requirement to maintain a light-hearted atmosphere, which is difficult enough without having to juggle thirteen characters into the bargain (he does come up with the occasional dose of inspired dialogue, however the initial meeting between Clooney and Roberts is a verbal fencing match thats as sharp as the creases on Garcias suit).

Luckily for everyone concerned, the heist itself is sufficiently daunting that itll keep you watching long past the time when youve ceased to give a damn about the participants. The absence of tension undermines the proceedings (you know that Damon isnt going to have his brains splattered over the wall if it all goes wrong), but the fact that the planning stage only gives away half the story makes for a diverting final half hour. Youd be advised to leave before the conclusion, however, because Clooneys problems with his love life are resolved in a manner that will have you shaking your head in righteous disgust (I like to think that Griffen had a gun to his head when he wrote it).

If the film didnt feature a big-name cast it would have sunk without trace, but then it was never meant to be anything other than an agreeable star vehicle. On those terms it succeeds, and while it practically defines the concept of disposable cinema it doesnt insult us into the bargain. See it with your mother, then show her Reservoir Dogs to mess with her mind she wont thank you for it, but balance can be a beautiful thing.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3897&reviewer=193
originally posted: 01/15/02 21:36:10
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

10/29/13 The Big D I endured this lame, boring thing because a friend talked me into going. 1 stars
8/12/13 rick original was a lot better 2 stars
6/09/10 Serge A modern classic, fantastic chemistry between all players 5 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. enjoyable. and ..what everyone else said, haha :] 4 stars
10/19/08 Samantha Pruitt lots of fun to watch, the cast is what makes it so good! 4 stars
4/26/08 Totir Alexandru It is a great movie and I really enjoyed watching it. The same for 12 and 13. 4 stars
11/18/07 Erica Munro Love it!!! 5 stars
11/10/07 cosmic conundrum Well, the cast did get reassembled.. not once, but twice 4 stars
10/20/07 Tiffany Losco This movie was great. And had all the hot guys in it!! Love Brad Pitt 5 stars
8/15/07 Quigley Excellent crime film with a great ensemble. Soderbergh's direction is superb. 5 stars
6/05/07 gr117 Love it! The cast is amazing. 5 stars
6/01/07 gcc awesome ending, great cast 4 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca Lots of fun. Great summer film. 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Should have been much better, but not the worst way to kill a couple of hours. Forgettable. 3 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie. Worth watching once, just to see the end. 4 stars
8/13/06 Cosmic Conundrum Entertainer with panache 4 stars
5/19/06 Kcaj Okay so I'd give it a C+ 3 stars
2/15/06 Indrid Cold Great chemistry and several funny moments, Soderbergh won't let you down. 4 stars
11/03/05 tatum Pure fluff, but well made fluff 4 stars
9/02/05 ES s'ok certainly better than the sequel, but star power a classic doe not make 3 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins The original is an infamous failure this is just too prefabricated. 2 stars
6/07/05 Agent Sands One of the three classic heist movies of all time. Class-A filmmaking. Clooney is a dream. 5 stars
5/21/05 Cham Dull remake of a terrible original. 2 stars
5/09/05 Carol Great movie 4 stars
5/05/05 Mind Junkie pretty good 3 stars
5/05/05 Kristi Achilleos great movie with excellent set of actors 4 stars
4/30/05 Chris Stephens Doesn't compare to the original, but is good 4 stars
4/27/05 chandrakanth k s A MUST WATCH 5 stars
4/23/05 Dan Awesome! 5 stars
4/23/05 Charlene Javier Excellent popcorn flick 4 stars
12/17/04 Theresa Wagner It's suspenseful in a kind of you know the bad guys will get away because they are supersta 4 stars
12/16/04 Ken Cenerelli Fun caper flick I enjoy watching over and over. I can always find something new each time. 5 stars
12/07/04 keithers.. great cast but it falls short entertaining non the less 4 stars
11/15/04 Naka Waaaaaay better then the original. A fantastic good time. 5 stars
8/08/04 john bale Good cast but the Rat Pack they're not. So why remake ? Another ho hum hi tech heist movie. 3 stars
5/11/04 J.Peckerfoot big names.cool dialogue.slick.safe.and great entertainment.critics need not apply. 4 stars
3/03/04 Agent Sands Easily among my top 3 movies. Everything is fucking brilliant!!! 5 stars
1/03/04 Littlepurch Enjoyable and surprising the first time. A bit repeative on repeat viewings. 4 stars
12/21/03 Matt Wow, everyone loves but me...oh well 2 stars
6/29/03 Rosalie I really enjoyed this one. 4 stars
5/30/03 JoeSco entirely amenable and Clooney as suave as ever 4 stars
5/16/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!) EXTREMELY entertaining, which makes up for its on&off seeming immorality. 4 stars
5/15/03 Piz Not mind-blowing but thoroughly entertaining. 4 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Lite, healthful entertainment. Contains plenty of Vitamin C but only some Vitamin B. 4 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Competently rendered but mechanical and empty. 2 stars
3/02/03 John What's so goddamn great about this movie?? 3 stars
1/04/03 R.W. Welch Compares favorably with the original, crisply done. 4 stars
12/28/02 Ken Increibly entertaining. Doesn't fall into typical "Vegas-movie" stereotypes. 5 stars
12/04/02 rob vegas IT DIVIDED THE AUDIENCES INTO THOSE WHO HATED IT AND THOSE WHO HATED IT! 1 stars
11/22/02 Croweater its enjoyable & entertaining, a good crime caper film 4 stars
11/16/02 spacecowboy good stuff... 4 stars
10/25/02 sparks Loved everything but Julia Roberts. Completely useless. Did anyone else see her mustache? 4 stars
8/25/02 Sesco i love u 1 stars
7/26/02 Punk_Ass I really enjoyed this film, very few gripes, Solid Entertaining. A good "Heist" movie 4 stars
7/15/02 Calvert Not bad, but lacking somehow 3 stars
6/28/02 Film Dude Top notch entertainment. 5 stars
6/28/02 Shelley Smith Aside from Julia Roberts, I absolutely love this film!!! Outstanding editing! 5 stars
6/16/02 FrayLo pretty damn entertaining, but hey, i'm fascinated by vegas 4 stars
6/11/02 hilarydsur awesome-but not to see a 2nd time 5 stars
6/03/02 Phoenix Enourmously entertaining. 5 stars
6/01/02 Chris A flawless film. You'll enjoy it so much it will blow you away. 5 stars
5/29/02 ő ̃XeB[uE\_[o[Oē‚AubhEsbgAW[WEN[j[AWAEo 4 stars
5/23/02 Matt Chez Good movie but could have been better, Pitt was excellent 4 stars
5/19/02 The Bomb 69 good popcorn flick 4 stars
5/13/02 Monday Morning Fun romp, very enjoyable. Needed to show Julia's tits for a "10", tho'. 5 stars
5/12/02 Matt All REDS!!!! : ) 4 stars
4/28/02 David A. Very Boring. No fistfights, no ghosts, predictable stale humor, and no pretty ladies. UGH! 1 stars
4/09/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite Julia Roberts is wasted, but tilte gang is memorable and exciting. 4 stars
4/07/02 stoolie-bird cute....... but thats about it 3 stars
3/27/02 Chris It's Great Fun. I Definatly recommend it. 4 stars
2/28/02 Chowie pretty good, but 'introducing julia roberts', she wasn't needed, so FUCK OFF JULIA! 3 stars
2/21/02 Jeff great movie 5 stars
2/20/02 speedy very good movie, can't wait until the DVD is out 5 stars
2/18/02 TLsmooth The rat pack were fags. 5 stars
2/07/02 sarahfar88 cool, funny, go see it 5 stars
1/22/02 Jimbo Just a movie (although i'm pretty sure i saw the cameraman's reflection in a mirror) 3 stars
1/19/02 natasha funny, smart, stylish -- pure entertainment 5 stars
1/18/02 Adam Voorhees Its not crap but its also no where near as cool as it shouldda been. 3 stars
1/16/02 Mister Char it was entertaining and interesting, julia roberts is too old to be sexy though 5 stars
1/16/02 Jockstud An action movie without action, a comedy without comedy, a drama without drama... 1 stars
1/15/02 ^ZuLu^ Quite entertaining - but nothing you'll remember in a year or two. 3 stars
1/15/02 King Krack Very entertaining. I fucked during the movie. 4 stars
1/14/02 thejames This movie sucks my fucking ass 1 stars
1/14/02 Glen Funny and Classy film. (best movie ever) 5 stars
1/13/02 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the smartest film i have seen in 2002 & it kicked ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/12/02 parkallan Not oscar material, but a fun way to spend an hour and a half 4 stars
1/11/02 Matthew Smirh a fast paced and very entertaining heist film 4 stars
1/08/02 Cherry Excellent, fun movie 5 stars
1/07/02 Danielle Sharpe Amazing...From the many casino movies i've seen, this could possibly be the best. 5 stars
1/06/02 Ian Clavel Two reasons to see it: Elliott Gould and Carl Reiner 4 stars
1/05/02 mrgoddamnhair This film is goddamn awesome 5 stars
1/03/02 Matt Utt Senator Blutarsky you are right on the money man. Oreilly rules and Clooney is a pussy!!!! 5 stars
1/02/02 George Clooney..... JK!!!!! The movie was okay, I luv Brad Pitt. So what if he's married, he's wicked hot! 4 stars
1/01/02 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) This movie rocks! It has all the good actors and a good music score. I liked it. 4 stars
12/31/01 John Lyons Not as good as the original, but okay. J. Roberts sucked. 4 stars
12/30/01 Jim Heard Good movie. But sllllooowwwww.... 4 stars
12/29/01 Artist Freak Fun escapist heist movie, a little lowbrow for the man who brought us Traffic, but good fun 4 stars
12/28/01 paul flashy and fun, but nothing new or exciting here... 4 stars
12/24/01 ryan good movie even w/ geroge clooney and julia roberts 4 stars
12/23/01 flick chick run of the mill 3 stars
12/20/01 Johnny Walker not a swanky caper flick like Snatch or tha Score was, but it was well acted n' coo' 4 stars
12/18/01 Jimmy James plot holes big enough to drive trucks through 2 stars
12/17/01 Caiphn T'was alright. I'd watch it again. 3 stars
12/17/01 The king daddy Pot rating King As smooth as vaporized chronic 5 stars
12/16/01 Obi Wan Wow! Ticket prices dropped 4 bucks in my area at Loews! 4 stars
12/16/01 spaceworm THE RIGHT STUFF used Clair de Lune first - and better. Stop smirking, George. 3 stars
12/14/01 Justin Jaku Julia Roberts was fantastic. She left me satisfied and wanting more, much more! 5 stars
12/14/01 Gorge Duvidous Who said substance and pretense were the standards of quality? This movie is amazing, fun 5 stars
12/13/01 Axe Murderer i truly underestimated this one....this movie rocks... 5 stars
12/13/01 Thor-Leo Eric D Snider's review said it all... 4 stars
12/12/01 Grenamier This movie is a lot of fun and shows a great deal of cleverness. 5 stars
12/12/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Great Goddess, am I retarded? Hollywood hype at its worst. 3 stars
12/10/01 Xalt PFC. Pretty Fucking Cool. I liked the twists in the plot, and that was great acting. 4 stars
12/10/01 Emily awesome 5 stars
12/10/01 poetchuck Nobody dies or gets shot--just good fun 5 stars
12/10/01 Gibbo A very pleasant way to spend two hours - good fun, not too cerebral, worth a look. 4 stars
12/10/01 several commas good entertainment 4 stars
12/09/01 soapydog great cast great movie 4 stars
12/09/01 frosty Awesome movie, coulda used a better ending. 4 stars
12/09/01 Gary Boy is this a fun movie, even though the movie man and I agree, it is very rare! 5 stars
12/09/01 kishuta A very enjoyable movie. A heist movie done well. 4 stars
12/08/01 ajay the best 'lines' are in the previews, but I still enjoyed it. 4 stars
12/08/01 jaime this movie is definitely worth seeing 5 stars
12/07/01 Jihan Not the best heist movie, but a damned good one. 4 stars
12/07/01 Emily awesome 5 stars
12/07/01 Monster W. Kung Nothing special. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Dec-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Jan-2002


Directed by
  Steven Soderbergh

Written by
  Ted Griffin

Cast
  George Clooney
  Brad Pitt
  Julia Roberts
  Matt Damon
  Don Cheadle
  Andy Garcia



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