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Posted on Fri, Dec. 10, 2004

'Ocean's Twelve' features more heists but less fun

Associated Press

Under the direction once again of Steven Soderbergh, nouveau Rat Packers George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, et al. return for more heists, in more countries, in more foreign languages and with more celebrity cameos.

While the first film featured a robbery of three Las Vegas casinos on a single night, the gag here is that this good-looking band of thieves has several jobs planned across Europe, all of which fall apart for various reasons.

It's hard not to want to applaud Soderbergh and screenwriter George Nolfi for trying to be innovative, since the usual point of a heist movie is watching the criminals plan the heist, then watching them put their plan in motion.

What they've come up with, though, is a film that's, surprisingly, heavy on its feet.'

At the film's start, casino king Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) tracks down all 11 members of Ocean's team and demands his $160 million back, with interest. They're in West Hollywood, Calif.; Provo, Utah; East Orange, N.J.; and everywhere in between. Ocean, remarried to his ex-wife and Benedict's former girlfriend, Tess (Julia Roberts), is living a quiet little existence in suburban Connecticut. But he reassembles his crew for a series of robberies to repay Benedict by his two-week deadline.

They include right-hand man Rusty Ryan (Pitt), who now owns an ultra-hip hotel in L.A.; pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Damon), who wants more responsibility; and explosives expert Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), now a music producer.

Others who figured more prominently the first time around don't get as much to do here. Bernie Mac is woefully underused, and spends too much time in jail. Elliott Gould shows up in a couple of tacky outfits but doesn't get as many memorable lines.

In their place are new actors, including Vincent Cassel as a French thief known as the Night Fox, who thwarts all of Ocean's plans; and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Isabel, a detective chasing after Ocean and his crew, who happens to be Rusty's ex-girlfriend and the daughter of an internationally renowned criminal herself.

Then there are the cameos, which can be good for a laugh though they tend to wallow in insiderism. Topher Grace returns as a slacker version of himself and admits to Rusty, "I totally phoned in that Dennis Quaid movie," referring to "In Good Company," which isn't even in theaters yet.

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