December 08, 2004


'Ocean's Twelve' better than original

December 8, 2004

"It's not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can't talk about it and I can't talk about why," says Brad Pitt in one of the sly lines from the glitzy, entertaining "Ocean's Twelve."

Pitt's mysterioso line is a tip on how to watch the movie: Don't sweat it if you get confused about the Ocean gang's plot to swipe valuables in Amsterdam and Lake Como, Italy. You're supposed to be confused, and it doesn't matter.

What the movie's really about is trading banter, looking good and making fun of stars such as Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis and Topher Grace (playing himself, Grace admits, "I totally phoned in that Dennis Quaid movie," a reference to "In Good Company," which will come out later this month).

"Ocean's Twelve" is better than "Ocean's Eleven," which spent too much time juggling all the members of Danny Ocean's (George Clooney) gang of thieves. "Twelve" was made by the same people including director Steven Soderbergh, who gives it style but it wisely limits the time it devotes to many of the gang members.

Most of the focus is on Clooney, Pitt, Matt Damon and Catherine Zeta-Jones. She plays an investigator who, like a kid in a man-candy store, can't help but be attracted to the well-groomed thieves she's supposed to be taking down.

It's worth noting that "Ocean's Twelve" credits an unprecedented number of personal hairstylists for its stars. And that there is a dead spot in the middle before the smashing conclusion picks things up. And that, even in the dead spot, things stay moving because of the muscular, melodic score, which sounds like the music they'd play in a jazzy nightclub where they don't admit people with bad haircuts or Discover cards.

The whole movie has an insidery, cool-for-cats vibe that will either irritate you with its glammy foolishness or amuse you with its sense that you're being sneaked into a party that is a whole lot hipper and swanker than the ones you're usually invited to.


3 stars

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Half the gorgeous 35- to 45-year-olds in Hollywood

Rated: PG-13, for language

SHOULD YOU GO? Sure. It's silly but in a good way.

(c) 2004, St. Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).

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