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Ocean's Twelve (12A)

By Graham Young, Evening Mail

 

Ocean's Twelve (12A) is such a stinker you’ll be able to smell it from the box office.

It’s a waste of star talent, celluloid and, above all, your time.

Spend your minutes queuing for tickets wisely and choose an alternative - like Million Dollar Baby.

If Spider-Man 2, The Bourne Supremacy and Shrek 2 made 2004 a good one for sequels, this disaster on top of the so-so Meet the Fockers means that 2005 is not such a good one for retreads.

Like Oliver Stone’s Alexander, Ocean’s Twelve isn’t unwatchable. It’s too glossy and there are too many stars for that.

But the silly script makes little sense from the beginning and reduces The Bourne Supremacy’s Matt Damon (Linus Caldwell) to an also-ran.

Underpinning my jaundiced view of Ocean’s Twelve are George Clooney’s words to me in London two years ago - that making this movie would fund his smaller ones.

Rushed into productions because his 2003 movie Solaris tanked, were Ocean’s Twelve to have starred a bunch of nobodies it would barely get a release.

It’s like watching Nick Nolte’s disastrous The Good Thief all over again, itself a remake of Jean Pierre Melville’s superior 1955 thriller Bob Le Flambeur.

The action in Ocean’s Twelve is poor, especially towards the limp, laser-beam dancing climax, and the comedy is thinner than a Bobby Charlton comb-over.

And, although there are glamorous locations galore, we rarely get a true flavour of any of them.

The proper use of landscape invariably generates the equivalent of an extra character, and one which enables many films to leave an indelible print on your mind.

But, as we pick up the frayed threads of Ocean’s Eleven - the slick 2001 remake of Frank Sinatra’s 1960 original Las Vegas robbery - we literally swirl rather pointlessly from one location to another.

There’s Connecticut, Utah, New Jersey, London, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Monaco, Amsterdam and Cernobbio at Lake Como in Italy.

Casino boss Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) wants his $160m back with $30m interest on top or else.

With a two-week deadline, Ocean’s boys are on the case with three new heists planned in Europe where they might also be the victims of a con.

Along the way there are silly cameos for Eddie Izzard (always a cast-iron guarantee the film you are watching is tosh), the normally more reliable Robbie Coltrane (Matsui) and blink-andyou’ll miss him Albert Finney as La Marque.

There’s a bit of fun with Julia Roberts (Tess Ocean) pretending to be her real self while trying to fool Bruce Willis in the process, but, on the whole, she looks gaunt.

“Who am I supposed to be?” she says at one point in the back of a car.

With that mad hat she’s wearing it’s got to be Michael Jackson... but nobody dares to crack the joke.

Meanwhile, the pretty-but-vacant Brad Pitt (Rusty Ryan) never thinks about slapping the hairdresser who’s given him his worst haircut ever.

And Catherine Zeta-Jones, as the expensively-dressed new girl on the block Isabel Lahiri, seems even less worried that she’s been given little more to do than she was in Steven Spielberg’s new video release The Terminal.

There’s a couple of jokes obviously referencing Michael Douglas’s role in her life, just like Topher Grace, playing himself, pointlessly makes fun of his career-making turn in the superb forthcoming Dennis Quaid movie, In Good Company.

Most daring of all, perhaps, is seeing 43-year-old George Clooney’s Danny Ocean letting others suggest that he’s a lot older.

For a touch more fun, try to imagine veteran actor/director Carl Reiner having considerably more mileage as ‘Deadly’ Doug Ellis instead of the nonentity known as Saul Bloom.

But all of this is a sideshow to yet another expensive, empty vessel directed by Steven Soderbergh, a personable 42-year-old whose finest film is Traffic, but whose considerable depths include Clooney’s Solaris and Roberts’ Full Frontal.

Given the talent involved, Ocean’s Twelve is the worst film of the 24 major releases in 2005 to date and an almost guaranteed contender for one of the top ten disasters of the year.

Weakly taglined ‘Twelve is the new Eleven’, it should have come with a ‘Warning - this turkey wants to gobble your money!’ slogan.

Website: www.oceans12.warnerbros.com

Rating: *

 
 

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