It’s slick, it’s suave, it’s stylish. The whole
gang from Ocean’s Eleven is back. The sequel boasts
even more stars and more fabulous locales than the original, creating
a light-hearted heist movie that doesn’t take itself seriously.
In fact, when the crew is faced with dire circumstances such as
jail time and impending death, they continue joking as if they’re
all on a sitcom episode. Maybe they are just that good.
Three and a half weeks ago, or maybe two weeks ago (the flashbacks
are so frequent that they become confusing), casino owner Terry
Benedict (Garcia) personally searches out each
of Ocean’s Eleven to demand back the money stolen from him
in the last movie. From Miami to London to New Orleans, when Benedict
makes that fateful visit, we get a glimpse of what each of the thieves
has done with his money. Now Benedict wants it all back, with interest.
Basically, in a wordy meeting of the 11 slightly panicked but well-dressed
members, 160 million with three years’ interest means that
each of them owes 19 million.
What job can they pull with their limited time span, especially
now that they are “too hot to work anywhere in the U.S.”?
Not to worry, Rusty Ryan (Pitt) has an idea, and
has already booked flights for all of them to Amsterdam. Little
does the rest of the group know that Ryan’s plan is concerned
more with winning back detective ex-girlfriend Isabel Lahiri (Zeta-Jones)
than saving their hides.
In Amsterdam, the crew puts together an elaborate plan to steal
the first-ever stock certificate, which is now worth quite a hefty
sum, from the well-protected mansion of an eccentric who never leaves
his home. Just like the first movie, the result is revealed before
the process. A replay of the process shows that Ocean’s group
was actually unsuccessful in the heist. Instead, after ingenious
planning and sneaky breaking-and-entering tactics, they are met
with an empty safe and a recorded message in which a thief named
Nightfox (Cassel) reveals that he has already stolen
Apparently, this Nightfox character considers himself the best
thief in the world, has developed some kind of insecurity complex
concerning Daniel Ocean (Clooney), and wants a
challenge to once and for all determine who is the best. The target
is the Fabergé Coronation Egg, and whichever thief can steal
it is crowned the best. Not only that, Nightfox promises that if
he loses, he will pay off Ocean’s debt. Because this is a
rush job, and they are “forcing it,” as one of the members
describes the job, there are few opportunities for the cleverness
and nuances that are so successful in the best heist movies. We
too feel that the plan is forced and even clumsy.
Sure there are plot twists, and some of them may even explain
the forcedness and clumsiness. However, where the big deception
was the best part of Eleven, the smaller dispersed deceptions
are the worst part of Twelve. The trickeries are entertaining
at first, but after a few, we begin to lose track. By the end, the
twists have become so tangled that even things which are supposed
to make sense don’t. Maybe I just think too many “what
ifs” and “how comes” into the movie, but I have
a feeling it’s not all my fault.
The cast seems disjointed, and with the exception of Ocean and
Ryan, don’t act like they once joined forces to pull an amazing
job at the Bellagio. Clooney and Pitt have a rapport that feels
real and relaxed. Matt Damon distinguishes himself
by taking on a bigger comedic role, and Roberts
shines in her few scenes. Zeta-Jones, not in a particularly challenging
role, has only to look pretty and deliver her lines with enough
flirtatiousness to make us believe Rusty Ryan would stalk her. The
others in the star-studded roster are merely stylish props, perhaps
purposely written to make way for the bigger names.