Oceanís 12 (4/10)

by Tony Medley

What makes a movie entertaining? A good script and an interesting story? Not here. Great actors? Well, thatís debatable here. Some people might think that Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt are great actors. I donít. Great director? Is Steven Soderbergh a great director? Heís got some successes and an Oscar (Traffic 2000), but he was also involved with Solaris (2002). I wouldnít put him in the class of Robert Wise and George Cukor and Fred Zinnemann yet. I wouldnít go to a movie because he was the director. Movie stars? Now weíre getting close. This is loaded with movie stars. In addition to the aforementioned, it adds Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, and Don Cheadle.

Forget the story; this is an excuse to make a movie. The story is so convoluted I doubt that it makes any sense even if you had the time or interest to concentrate. Ostensibly, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) went to see Oceanís 11 (2001) and found out that Danny Ocean (George Clooney) was the guy who robbed him, so he visits Danny and each member of his gang individually and gives them two weeks to repay what he says they owe him, which he figures is $160 million, including interest. They go along with his demand and decide to pull another caper to raise the money, but go to Europe because thatís a more romantic place to shoot a movie.

So the gang goes to Europe and thatís when you stop following the story because itís hopelessly confusing. Fortunately, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Isabel Lahiri) joins the cast in earnest at that point and the most entertaining part of the rest of the movie (itís 2:10 long!) is looking at her. She is mind-bogglingly beautiful. If the Ď40s generation had their Gene Tierney and Ava Gardner, we have our Zeta-Jones.

One pleasant surprise is that the best acting done by the ensemble cast is by the heretofore one dimensional Matt Damon ((Linus Caldwell), along with Julia Roberts (Tess Ocean), and Zeta-Jones. Linus is the young, inexperienced member of the gang and Damon is not only convincing, heís very funny.

Everybody is hang-loose; nobody takes anything very seriously. There are some ďinĒ jokes and since I saw it at a media-industry screening, people were laughing where lots of people in normal audiences wonít laugh because they wonít get it. Maybe people will see this because the way theyíre promoting it is that it was just so much fun to make. Thatís a good idea because the story is less than compelling, the caper is just too confusing to understand, and you donít really care. There should be more to a movie than just a bunch of people who like to party and ad lib getting together to make a movie. This isnít Frank Sinatraís Rat Pack, who made the first Oceanís 11 in 1960, but Frankís RP has not weathered the test of time well and their antics seem silly today. As for Danny Oceanís European caper, I just kept waiting for Zeta-Jonesís next scene. Looking at her almost makes this worthwhile.


December 7, 2004

The End