Ocean's Thirteen Review

Even if you didn't like the way Ocean's 12 blindsided the audience with the trick-ending, I think we can all say, at the very least, the Ocean's saga has been entertaining. The onscreen personalities of Clooney, Pitt, and Damon have formed a comedic juggernaut that only picks up speed when the likes of Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan and Bernie Mac jump on board. The past two flicks have succeeded in comic success...but how did Ocean's 13 unfold?

My initial reaction after walking away from the theater was one of pure content. I found satisfaction with the ending but noted that the road to get there was remarkably sparser as far as the number of belly laughs is concerned. But with all that said, Ocean's 13 is set to please but fails to hit the same mark as the original.

Ocean's 13's basic premise:

Reuben (Elliot Gould), the loveable bankroller of the gang's original caper, just found himself thrust from his own casino by the man he thought had been his partner: Willie Bank. Bank owns top of the line "5 Diamond" Casino's across the world and has big plans for this new one...but the plans don't involve Reuben and thus 1/13 of the Ocean gang is forced to sign away his partnership.

As we've undoubtedly seen by now, the Ocean crew is a tight one and revenge isn't far off on the horizon for Willie Banks. The unfortunate unfolding of the Casino sees Reuben in a depressed comatose state with the rest of the Ocean crew calling in favors from everyone across the board to help take Willie Banks for all he's worth.

George Clooney and Brad Pitt's characters have actually shown a growth of sorts as they still share their typical funny small talk, but have now transcended the need to actually finish their sentences. As infuriated as I was, since every drop of dialogue these writers will give you is precious, it was also rather fun to listen to the two respond to each other so fluidly without ever telling the audience what it was they were talking about. It sounds confusing now - but see it...and you'll understand.

Matt Damon finally receives his fair share of the Ocean's face time and plays a rather large part. His timidity is still hilarious and the ways he goes about being "smooth" are laugh riots unto themselves.

Casey Affleck and Scott Caan are, as they always have been, feuding brothers who can't seem to agree - ever. Their bit south of the border is a great subplot that unfolds rather nicely - but ends too quickly. But the movie has to move on I guess...so we forgive them.

Al Pacino is the same over-confident character he always plays. Think Devil's Advocate...and then transplant the character into Ocean's 13. Same thing. He's good at playing bad guys...it's always fun to watch him.

The entire cast works together well and you can tell they had plenty of fun making this film. Ocean's 13 screams ‘entertainment'. The audience hears it loud and clear.

One odd part about Ocean's 13 was the obvious write-off of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Any savvy movie watcher will know that the line "It's not their fight" is nothing but screenwriter's whiteout for parts whose players have deigned not to take another swim in the Ocean. But we don't mind and the numbers of characters racing about on the screen helps us forget all too quickly.

As I said, the number of laughs has diminished but Ocean's 13's caper is more satisfying than Ocean's 12's. As always, the audience is barraged with a variety of unexplained actions that are shown to pay-off in big ways later on. Ocean's 13, I'd say, carries this out with more delight as the pay-offs are more immediate helping the audience to keep track of everything that's happened. A definite step up from Ocean's 12 (with makes sense in math terms), but it still fails to beat the unrelenting fun of its Ocean's 11 ancestor.

"Ocean's Thirteen" opens June 8, 2007 and is rated PG13. Comedy, Crime, Thriller. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Written by Brian Koppelman, David Levien. Starring Al Pacino, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Catherine Zeta Jones, Don Cheadle, Eddie Izzard, Elliot Gould, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Scott Caan.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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