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Jun 11, 2007

Fletch's Film Review: Ocean's Thirteen

The Ocean's series are perfect summer movies. Say what you will about the second (I didn't care for it in the theater, but it has grown on me significantly via cable viewings), but all three do exactly what they are intended to do and more: they are mindless popcorn flicks that entertain without insulting your intelligence. Sure, there are unbelievable scams here and there, but the sheer volume of characters (and their respective talents) make most of it believable. Also, with a strong, confident director, and capable writers, you never feel like you're being left out to dry.

Without saying too much (the trailer has said plenty already), the scam this time involves getting revenge on another casino owner, this time played by Al Pacino, who brings a lot to the acting table, and thankfully spares us the now-clichéd "Hoo-ah!" speech that he's become known for ever since Scent of a Woman (a rejuvenated Ellen Barkin is also on board, as Pacino's right-hand woman). Notably (and thankfully, I think) absent are Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones, as their characters are apparently stuck in Europe or something, while the whole gang ends up back in Vegas. More so than in the first, the return to and of Vegas is a running theme, and it adds a deeper meaning to the film that was absent previously.

Along the way, many loose ends are tied up, many old friends show up, new characters introduced (most notably the nebbishy David Paymer as a hotel reviewer, as well as a Super Dave Osborne appearance), some great cameos, a number of in-jokes, and a whole lot of disguises. Among the most impressive scams Soberberg pulls off is the inclusion of a fabricated grand hotel right smack dab in the middle of the strip - and it's not like it's just one CGI shot; there are numerous shots from various angles.

All that said, the best and most important things I can say about Ocean's Thirteen are that a) I had a smile on my face the entire time (excluding the first 15 minutes, when a gaggle of teenage comedians sitting in front of us decided to use the theater as an improv class, to poor results), and b) it made me want to get on the next plane to Las Vegas. Perhaps Clooney and the gang should be getting residuals from the Bellagio. Talk about free advertising.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"It's in the hole!"

* Oh, and by the way: I wondered the other day who the "13th" person was that would make the title complete. Though they never reference it in the movie, it's safe to say that it's Eddie Izzard - his role gets a bit bigger here, and more than just being a "vendor" as he was before, he actually takes an active role in the scam. So that's that.

* Fun fact time: Super Dave Osborne aka Bob Einstein is Albert Brooks' brother. Yes, Albert Brooks' real name is Albert Einstein.

8 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Ocean's Thirteen"

BostonSucksMyBlog said...

it was better than 12(obviously). not as good as 11. Pacino is terrible. Lets over act more, dude. It was nice that Julia Roberts wasnt in it. Damon was funny, which was not expected.

Anonymous said...

That was Super Dave?!?!! Knew he looked familiar.

Fletch said...

I liked Pacino more here than I have in some time. He managed to be bad without going over the top. Solid.

Derrich said...

I never talk in movies...for obvious reasons. Yet, I couldn't resist saying (at a reasonably low, but audible volume): "Hey, that's Super Dave". I heard a few people pass the info along. LOL! Kinda made me giggle...in a completely masculine way, of course. :)

Pacino certainly wasn't PACINO. That's for sure. I still think he's a bad-@$$ though.

Alessia Maggi said...

Not yet seen the film, but will be doing so shortly. After seeing 12, and not being all that impressed, I thought I might give 13 a miss, but your review has convinced me otherwise.

It's summertime, so why not go see a summer movie?

Fletch said...

Good call - hope you like it!

Exactly my thinking - if you're going to succumb to evil, mindless summertime popcorn movies, at least enjoy those that have some style and wit (and some hint of brains) to them.

bd79 said...

Agree, I think this was easily Pacino's best role in a long time (though his schtick worked well in Any Given Sunday, I thought)...but he was very toned down in this one. Excellent job.

soundtrackguy said...

“Been to see Ocean’s Thirteen? Check out the soundtrack here: http://www.hyfntrak.com/oceans13/fromafriend”