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Ocean's Thirteen

Ocean's Thirteen

Genre: Comedy/Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ellen Barkin, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Bernie Mac, Andy Garcia
Released by: Warner Bros.

In Short: Soderbergh beats the house with this cheeky, retro caper.

Rat Pack Redux
Lucky Number Thirteen
by Jenny Watkins

When lovable heist-man Reuben (Elliot Gould) is double-crossed by devilish hotel shark Willy Bank (Al Pacino with a DayGlo spray tan and disturbingly over-bleached chompers), his heart can’t take the shock, leaving him bed-ridden and broken-hearted.  Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his slick sidekick Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) rush to his aid, rallying the rest of the robber clan for their most elaborate scheme to date. Aiming not to make away with any cash like previous adventures, but instead to take down “The Bank,” Willy’s unspeakably tacky hotel creation, the hip gang proves that revenge is a dish best served cool.

The franchise that began as a remake of the Rat Pack’s buddy flick has found its groove with Thirteen, seamlessly merging the laidback vibe of America’s most infamous boys’ club with the charming and cheeky comedy that keeps the film fresh. Soderbergh makes the most of the farcical elements of the caper flick, and many of the gags are pure throwback—from sabotaging a hotel reviewer’s stay with putrid smells and bed bugs to Damon’s oversized prosthetic schnoz—but the comedy has enough of a modern edge to keep the “been there, done that” curse at bay. And just like the original, the film doesn’t shy away from riding on the public appeal of its stars, throwing in several references to the cast’s personal lives, including a jab at Pitt about his recent domestication and a clip of Clooney growing misty-eyed over Oprah.

Ocean's Thirteen
Al Pacino in Ocean's Thirteen

Where Twelve fell short by losing viewers in a convoluted plotline, Thirteen manages to keep the audience apace (or at least entertained) while still incorporating outlandish elements like the rental of the drill that dug the Chunnel, a worker strike at a dice factory in Mexico (led by a mustachioed Casey Affleck), beating the world’s most sophisticated security system and an unbelievably effective aphrodisiac.  When things start getting complicated, Soderbergh pulls out all the retro stops; split screens show the fast-paced casino action and flashy neon graphics explode onto the screen in true Vegas style, all underscored by the swanky score of David Holmes.

Matt Damon seduces Ellen Barkin in Ocean's Thirteen
Ocean's Thirteen

While Ocean’s Thirteen isn’t necessarily the kind of probing, philosophical movie that’s revered these days, it doesn’t aim to be.  This flashy flick is film as it used to be – escapist fun. Comedy comes easily to the well-cast crew of beautiful people, and the chemistry between them is undeniably magnetic. Soderbergh’s best Ocean’s makes us yearn for a hipper era, when men wore shark-skin suits, idolized Sinatra and bellied up to the tables, instead of wearing sweats while playing fantasy football, just plain belly up.


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