A review of “Ocean's Twelve” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: PG-13 for language

Run Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

 

 

Twelve is the new Eleven?  That’s debatable.  Ocean’s Twelve meets its snappy predecessor head on and wilts in comparison.

Assuming a built-in fan base and the cool-factor of its hunky cast, this chaotic crime caper introduces one or two new faces and places in order to retread the familiar storyline for maximum box office.

Now that Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) are back on the streets with their multi-million dollar share, all is la dolce vita.  That is until pissed-off pit boss Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) comes a calling.  Terry wants his money back, all $160 million of it, and he’s not going to rest until he has it. 

In a clever twist of international fancy, Terry pays a personal visit to each of the original Ocean’s Eleven, traveling from LA to Rome and locations between to make his point:  two weeks to pony up the money or die.

The filched bank has long since gone the route of cars, homes, jewelry and women, and our boys require fast cash.  Brainstorm: another audacious and lucrative heist that will resolve the pesky problem and vault the OE into the annals of criminal notoriety.

A rare Faberge egg is the plum target, but Ocean and Co. have some competition on their hands.  Specifically François Toulour, aka “Night Fox” (Vincent Cassel), the world’s most elusive jewel thief.  Toulour agrees to pay the Ocean gang’s debt in full if they can successfully pilfer the precious objet d’art before he does.

Cassel’s smooth gig is the best thing going for Twelve, aside from the obvious assets of Pitt and Clooney. The project smacks of an inside joke, a hipper-than-thou prank among friends who know the jig is up but are coolly aware that they’ll salvage the situation in the nick of time.

Dialogue is a mumbo-jumbo of impromptu one-liners and fraternity-haze repartee.  Granted there are good moments sprinkled throughout, including Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts) impersonating Julia Roberts in the presence of skeptical celeb pal Bruce Willis and Toulour traversing a museum’s complicated laser field with yogic finesse.  Catherine Zeta-Jones makes pretty as Rusty squeeze cum snoopy cop Isabel Lahiri and Matt Damon breaks out as the homeboy du jour.

Those aforementioned fans should delight in having their boys back in business, but for my money director Steven Soderbergh should have relied less on Eleven’s success and gambled the house on Twelve.