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Ocean's Twelve: Return of the Latter-Day Rat Pack

- December 16, 2004

* Ocean's Twelve
Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vincent Cassel, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Scott Penn, Elliott Gould, Casey Affleck, Cherry Jones, Robbie Coltrane. (PG-13)

Entertaining fluff for smart folks: Ocean's Twelve , Steven Soderbergh's sequel to, guess what, 2001's megahit Ocean's Eleven . The star-studded ensemble is reunited and makes room for a new cast member (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The story finds evil casino boss Andy Garcia demanding his stolen money back, with interest--necessitating a payback heist that pits the team against an envious fellow thief (Vincent Cassel).

The script is much more of a meander, the caper even more complicated. Soderbergh hasn't made a movie this openly self-referential since the stinkbomb that was Full Frontal . Yet somehow, all the casual asides, all the nods to fellow Hollywood types (Bruce Willis as Bruce Willis, in a not inconsiderable supporting role; Topher Grace as Topher Grace, trashing a hotel room; most convolutedly, Julia Robert's Tess Ocean posing as...Julia Roberts, whom she evidently resembles) feel unforced and freewheeling. Which is why, in the end, it brings a smile. Twelve captures the amiable, wish-I-was-a-member-of-that-club feel of the Rat Pack original.

Correction

Last week's review of Closer stated that Clive Owen reprised the role of Larry, which he originally played on the London stage. In fact, Owen played the part of Dan (Jude Law's role in the film version) onstage.

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