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Awesome: 6.82%
Worth A Look: 15.15%
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Pretty Crappy34.09%
Sucks: 9.85%

12 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Ocean's Twelve
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by Mel Valentin

"Cash-in sequel = rapidly diminishing returns."
3 stars

After the commercial and critical success of "Oceanís Eleven" a cash-in sequel was inevitable. Time, of course, was of the essence. A screenplay had to be commissioned, the stars signed and assembled, and the film itself produced before the moviegoing publicís pop culture memories evaporated. Luckily, the four principal stars, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts were all available and willing to reprise their roles in the sequel. Director Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic," "Solaris," "The Limey," "Out of Sight"), arguably indispensable to the success of the first film, also returned. Central to "Oceanís Elevenís" success, however, was the chemistry and rapport between the principal leads and the supporting actors.

Oceanís Twelve reunites Danny Ocean (George Clooney), his significant other, Tess (Julia Roberts), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), and the rest of Oceanís crew, all of whom have retired from a life of crime after the successful heist of the first film. Some, like Danny, miss the adrenaline rush of their profession. Others, like Rusty, have tried their hand at making a living legally. In his case, Rusty owns several hotels, all of which are in the red (Topher Grace returns for a hilarious cameo, as a drugged-out, long-haired, bearded actor whoís trashed a hotel room). Their life of ease, however, is about to end.

Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the victim in Oceanís Eleven, has returned to extract vengeance. After discovering their whereabouts, Benedict gives Ocean and his crew an ultimatum: pay him back what theyíve stolen within two weeks or face a violent end. This, of course, serves as the catalyst for Oceanís crew to reunite for additional adventures and misadventures outside of the law. Apparently too ďhotĒ to operate in the United States, Ocean and his crew turn to Europe, first Amsterdam and later Paris and Rome. In one of the more memorable (and funny) dialogue scenes, Danny and Rusty, accompanied by an overeager Linus, meet with their contact, Matsui (Robbie Coltrane). Matsui, it seems, speaks only in code. When Linus is forced to speak, he quotes a stanza from a Led Zeppelin song, only to later discover heís inadvertently insulted Matsuiís family.

Their first heist, a carefully planned theft of a valuable document from a well-guarded safe, proves to be the closest Oceanís Twelve gets to a sustained suspense sequence to rival the original. After Oceanís crew suffers a major reversal of fortune, and with time running out, an alternative presents itself: a fabulously expensive Fabergť egg will go on display at a museum. From there, Ocean and his crew suffer a series of reversals, necessitating improvisation from the more junior members of the crew. Added to the mix is a romantic subplot involving Rusty and Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a Europol detective pursuing Rusty and, by extension, Ocean and his crew.

Good news first: Oceanís Twelve retains most of the appeal of the first film, due primarily to the leads and their relaxed, naturalistic performances and onscreen chemistry. Soderbergh matches his focus on performance with a loose, improvisatory style of filmmaking. Soderberghís direction is as skillful and technically accomplished as ever, even if his techniques have begun to feel overly familiar (e.g., jumping forward and backward in time, jump cuts, track-ins and fluid tracking shots during dialogue scenes, burnished cinematography, etc.).

Now the bad news: George Nolfiís script contains numerous flaws. The script, aided on occasion by Soderberghís performance and character-focused direction, can be self-indulgent (e.g., each character is given a separate introduction, and later, in another scene, repeats the motif, by following each character separately via a zoom-in as they walk across a courtyard, accompanied by suitably uptempo music from David Holmes, who scored Oceanís Twelve), but its greatest faults lie in the lack of a strong villain or antagonist for Danny Ocean and his crew, in not creating a sense of physical danger, risk or sustained suspense, and ultimately, in an unimaginative heist sequence that compares poorly against the original.

Oceanís Eleven centered on the planning and execution of a complex, difficult heist, with Soderbergh keeping the audience kept partially in the dark as the unexpected followed the expected. Here, Soderbergh and Nolfi give the central heist minimal attention, focusing more on crosses and double-crosses, as well as on the romantic subplot involving Rusty and Isabel. The Rusty/Isabel subplot, meant to mirror or echo the Danny/Tess romantic subplot in Ocean's Eleven sadly has little of the crackling wit or humor of the original. Soderbergh and Nolfi also pack in easily predictable, rote, and underwritten plot turns into the romantic subplot.

Romantic subplot aside, Soderbergh and Nolfi indulge in a patently ludicrous plot turn, meant to give an absent character a central role in the film, while also adding self-reflexive, cleverer-than-thou humor. While the original briefly played with the idea of actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves, there it was treated more as a throwaway gag early in the film. Here, the gag is kept front and center for too long. Focusing on the gag and its implications also sidelines the central characters for an extensive period of time, slowing the filmís narrative momentum and substituting in-jokes for the unforced verbal comedy that preceded it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11326&reviewer=402
originally posted: 06/27/05 04:38:38
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User Comments

6/09/10 Serge I think it was just a filler between 11 and 13 3 stars
3/28/08 Renzo Sucks! 1 stars
6/05/07 gr117 Great soundtrack & location shots- too bad the "plot" sucked 2 stars
3/16/07 Donny M Julia Roberts Scene Stupid 3 stars
1/23/07 Matt Thirteen Oceans of unadulterated crap. Gave up after 30 mins. 1 stars
11/30/06 Candice I love this movie. 5 stars
9/12/06 Agent Sands You have to be a hardcore fan of heist movies to really enjoy it the way I do! What a ride! 5 stars
7/24/06 Sully tripe. Damon was great, everyone else was boring. ending was ridiculous! 1 stars
7/07/06 CTT The cast definitely has a better time than the audience 3 stars
5/06/06 Charlene Javier Not as bad as everyone says it is... 3 stars
2/15/06 Indrid Cold Much of the chemistry and laughs of the first one, plot somewhat weaker though. 4 stars
11/24/05 Jacques the Man Actually, this is the most entertaining film I've seen all year. 5 stars
8/27/05 Lisa Brady terribly unbelievable 2 stars
7/31/05 Beth Kerrick Was disappointed it wasn't as good as the original. Not bad, but not great. 3 stars
7/13/05 Matthew Rudawsky Julia Roberts as herself was clever, but I wouldn't bother seeing the rest a 2nd time 3 stars
6/28/05 chimera Uninspired disaster 1 stars
6/24/05 Mr Fluffy Script not as tight as Eleven but directorially it's still up there with it. 4 stars
6/23/05 Adonis Fuentes Dumb dance sequence through the lasers 3 stars
6/07/05 Agent Sands You have to be a devout fan of heist & con flicks to really enjoy it. What a ride! 5 stars
5/24/05 Casey Becher A typical, disappointing sequel 2 stars
5/21/05 Charlene Javier Great inside jokes! 3 stars
5/17/05 mysterio Very boring movie. 2 stars
5/12/05 edsandiego2 I find it very entertaining. 4 stars
5/11/05 Beardog8 Love Soderbergh, but this was a let down from all involved. 2 stars
4/29/05 Phil M. Aficionado 40 minutes in, I decided this was not worth watching. What exactly was the point? 2 stars
4/27/05 Uncle Salty Worthless, %90 soundtrack, %10 movie 1 stars
4/23/05 Dan Ok movie, original one was better and always will be. 3 stars
4/23/05 Quigley we would need shovels - no, tractors! - to heap the bullcrap higher. Brad, we've had enough 1 stars
4/22/05 Monster W. Kung Crappy and uninteresting, and the twist sucks like a hoover. 2 stars
4/14/05 Scott Lamont Very anoying and hard to follow, even harder to swallow. 3 stars
4/06/05 brody what a bootleg film 1 stars
3/25/05 Denise good 4 stars
2/12/05 Sylvia Belle I enjoyted this one very much 5 stars
2/11/05 Kelly Self-indulgent, Ego-driven BORE of a Movie. The "aren't we awesome" posturing fell flat. 2 stars
2/11/05 John Jankowski very very average.. 3 stars
2/01/05 Casey Becher A pathetic attempt at a sequel. Sometimes it's better to stop while you're ahead. 3 stars
1/15/05 Feliciano this is what a real boring movie is, a movie with actually nothing interesting. 1 stars
1/08/05 Agent Sands FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE HEIST MOVIES!!!!!!! SURPRISINGLY EQUIVALENT TO "ELEVEN"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/07/05 Elizabeth S Star cameo provides the movie's best moments; pretty charmless. 2 stars
1/04/05 redhand a terrable movie, pointless 1 stars
1/04/05 malcolm excellent, witty dialogue; but ending was a cheat 3 stars
1/02/05 Danno the Movie Manno Should have given Bruce Willis a bigger role 1 stars
12/27/04 efrain as one magazine put it: PEOPLE MAGAZINE COMES TO LIFE. 4 stars
12/27/04 Mike V What a boring, glitzy, empty, mess of a movie. 2 stars
12/19/04 Koitus Ugh! Cheesy details on "how the 12 did it." Identified criminals identities "too" easily. 2 stars
12/18/04 Lisa totally crappy 1 stars
12/16/04 Jack Ocean's 12 is a piece of crap. Soderbergh apparently wants to sully his reputation. 1 stars
12/16/04 Carl Utterback Amusing diversion if you liked the characters (and actors) from Ocean's 11. 4 stars
12/14/04 Elizabeth Bates Great Film!!!! 5 stars
12/14/04 Elizabeth Boring and uninspired, save for a few humorous bits. 2 stars
12/14/04 Mikester Vincent Cassel rocks ! 4 stars
12/12/04 KingNeutron I enjoyed it, espec. the "JR lookalike" subplot. ;-) 4 stars
12/12/04 rich a little too cute on itself and not enough PLOT 2 stars
12/11/04 Scott like The Village--you find out the "secret", but wish you hadn't 3 stars
12/11/04 ajay some funny moments, but overall... boring. 2 stars
12/11/04 Andrew If you don't like Ocean's 12 your too self conscience 5 stars
12/11/04 Kristina Williams celebrity whorefest 2 stars
12/11/04 Bob Kolk Not since Lost in Translation have I had a stronger urge to get up and leave a theater. 1 stars
12/10/04 John Very good movie 5 stars
12/07/04 Ray Big deal 3 stars
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  10-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Apr-2005



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