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OCEAN'S TWELVE
U.S. Release Date: December 10, 2004
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: George Nolfi
Composer: David Holmes
Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, Bruce Willis (Cameo), Jared Harris, Topher Grace (Cameo)
Running Time: 2 hours and 4 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (language)

Cheaper by the Dozen
by Sean Saulsbury

In Ocean's Eleven, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) gathered a group of thieves to steal $160 million from a casino vault in Las Vegas; it promised the thrill of the heist, and that's what's lacking in Steven Soderbergh's sequel, Ocean's Twelve.

Casino owner Andy Garcia has discovered who stole his money and he issues an ultimatum to Ocean and his team of thieves: pay back the money plus interest or else. Ocean and his gang (Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Livingston Dell, Elliot Gould, Shambo Quin) fly to Europe to search for a job that will pay their debt.

Most of these characters interact in short, smug sentences, which is intended to show the guys as sly and clever. They really aren't saying much, though sometimes the banter is funny. Pitt and Clooney, for example, sitting around and speaking in nonsensical metaphors is good for some giddy laughs.

With a script that jumps around with too many characters, the plot is difficult to follow. By the time one's mind is overloaded with who is where and what is going on, Ocean's Twelve emerges as less about the heist and more about what it takes to be a skilled thief.

Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting) gets the most mileage out of his role as a dude who's not too sure of himself. Petitioning to play a bigger part in the heist, Damon's character has the most to gain, In trying to prove his abilities, he doesn't realize what he's getting himself into and watching Damon's naïve nerd try to do something he doesn't completely understand provides enough comic relief to sit through the picture.

When everything starts to go wrong and nabbing the loot looks hopeless, Damon gets his chance to grab the reigns. He devises a plan to finish the job and this is where the movie loses steam. Ocean's Twelve cheats its way out of a dead end by pulling a metaphorical rabbit out of a hat. The movie becomes an endless array of self-referential jokes and, without giving much away, it takes the audience outside of the movie. It's a deadly and distracting decision.

With the thieves denied much to gain, what's at stake—their money and possibly their lives—is seriously diminished, leaving only the flimsy promise to put the gang back where they started and robbing Ocean's Twelve of the excitement of its predecessor.


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