Movie News & Reviews

"Ocean's Thirteen" doesn't steal your money

All the actors in "Ocean's Thirteen" might be crazy cool, but after a while you just have to feel sorry for them.

Don't they have anything better to do? Come on, Brad Pitt, you were in "Fight Club."

Clooney, you rocked it out in "Syriana." Don't you know we have a limited amount of time on this earth? We've got to make it count! Gentlemen!

The heist in "Ocean's Thirteen" isn't about the money, though. Sure, its horde of thieves stand to make millions once again, but this time it's personal.

Elliott Gould has gone into business with Al Pacino, one of the world's hottest hotel developers. Every property he's owned has been rated five diamonds, and that's a lot of diamonds. I mean, here I am with zero, and this guy's up to like 25.

But Pacino, who's so tanned and leathery in this movie his face could double as a blacksmith's apron, didn't get where he is by playing nice. He forcibly severs his partnership with Gould, leaving the old man so shocked he has a heart attack from which he might not recover.

The doctor says it would help his chances to have something to live for, but Gould's got no family. Similarly to the way a hammer thinks in terms of nothing but nails, Clooney and Pitt decide the best medicine is to rob and ruin Pacino's casino. They summon up the posse to get together a plan, and like that it is on. It is on so hard these guys would have to rob another casino just to pay their electric bill.

With target and motivation thusly established, the expansive cast can get down to the business of figuring out a way around Pacino's fiendishly high-tech security system. This could be boring and formulaic, but this time the security is so advanced it requires -- no joke -- a man-made earthquake to get around it. Awesome.

The "Ocean" movies have about twice as many characters as you can possibly keep track of, but "Thirteen" does a good job bouncing between who's up to what and how they're coming at their various assignments. Some of the actors have little more to do than worry about the latest setback, but others, notably Casey Affleck and Matt Damon, have some time to screw around and differentiate themselves from the pack.

"Ocean's Thirteen" has a good sense of humor, too, which is probably why this third movie filled with super-stud movie actors pretending to be super-stud casino thieves somehow isn't totally obnoxious. Instead, it's light, quick, and a fair amount of fun.

For any heist movie, you'd better make sure the part where they're doing the actual stealing is pretty grand. That's where the movie comes up short. Their heist is far from bad, it just isn't especially memorable, either. Far less so than a robbery involving earthquakes should be, anyway.

If "Ocean's Thirteen" has any problems, it's that it lacks any seriously knockout scenes. There's a lot of moments that are funny and charming, but you're not going to be walking out saying to your friend "Oh my god! I almost passed out from acute radness poisoning during that scene where Clooney and Pacino are dangling by their legs from the helicopter and swordfighting to be crowned king of Vegas! I'll never forget that even if I catch vampirism and live to be a billion!"

Nope. None of that. In the Summer of the Unwarranted Sequel, however, with such treats as "Fantastic Four 2," "Rush Hour 3," and "Die Hard 4" yet to come, "Ocean's Thirteen" is surprisingly strong. Lord knows it might not be necessary, but it's still funny enough to put all that beside the point.

Grade: B