Ocean'a 11 review by David Richards
If the original was a keeper, more often than not, the new one will be as exciting as getting a Chia Pet for Christmas (Psycho falls under that category).
On the other hand, if the first-go at a film was a dud, well, chances are something new and fresh just may come out of a more updated installment.
I've never seen the 1960s version of Ocean's 11, starring Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack, but under my theory, I'm guessing it wasn't a flawless piece of work for its time.
This latest attempt, however, isn't worth a standing ovation, but thanks to director phenom Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich) and a high-caliber cast, Ocean's 11 manages to stay afloat from start to finish.
The film is named for Danny Ocean (George Clooney), a thief who doesn't waste any time between getting paroled and getting back to thinking up his next big heist.
Ocean is slick, witty and now turns his eye on three Las Vegas hotels and the fortunes that come with them: the Bellagio, the MGM Grand and the Mirage.
Perhaps a motive for Ocean in his latest endeavor is the fact all three hotels are owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who's courting Ocean's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts).
Ocean needs a couple of good men to assist him and it isn't long before they come in the form of: Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), the reliable right-hand man; Linus (Matt Damon), the pick pocket who doesn't carry a blanket; Yen, the contortionist (Shaobo Qin); and Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), the card dealer and the inside scoop man, just to name a few.
There are 11 total in Ocean's brigade, all eagerly looking to become instant millionaires.
The payoff won't be easy, however, and the end result the crooks are looking for will only come with a mess of tricky planning and a little bit of luck mixed in for measure.
What makes Ocean's 11 work is the intricate detail and time the film spends on each character and his or her involvement with the heist.
We watch the contortionist fly through the air and land on the top of a cabinet, knowing that any mistake, no matter how slight, will alert the authorities. We are told that every casino is already on a heavy lookout for Ocean because of his track record, but he still manages to get into the action and does so by old-fashioned creativity and wit. And we are treated to a finale that compares with the entertainment value of a whole slew of David Copperfield tricks.
This movie isn't one of those "see it again and again" features, but as a first-time choice, Ocean's 11 provides a highly enjoyable ride, topped off with one heck of a cast. **** Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual content