Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)

* PT: The whole Ocean crew. Wadpaw: To punish Willie Bank for his uncharitable nature.

* Not as loathsome and self-satisfied as Ocean's Twelve, but if anything this third installment feels like even more of a cash grab. As grateful as I am that we're not stuck with another version of George and Brad's Vacation Snaps by Steven S., I'd much prefer something other than this lazy, weightless confection. It's slick and frictionless, designed to entertain in the moment yet evaporate on contact.

* One's disbelief had to be suspended during Ocean's Eleven. It had to be held in place with pulleys and winches during Twelve. Here, suspending one's disbelief is pretty much impossible because the series isn't pretending to shoot for believability any longer. No problem is insurmountable, no solution is too ludicrous or expensive. With all the money thrown at The Destruction of Willie Banks by Our Men in Vegas, they could just as easily have purchased the entire state of Nevada and have Banks thrown out of town on a racketeering charge or a kiddie-porn rap or whatever.

* As the elaborate plotting grows tiresome due to the lack of stakes, so does the endless cast parade and nods to the previous entries grow tiresome because doing so just dices the film up that much further and leaves little room for much of the cast to do anything besides fill a role in a Rube Goldberg machine. Eddie Izzard gets a good semi-monologue at the film's beginning then vanishes for pretty much the entire rest of it; meanwhile, there's a killer irony in Shaobo Qin finally rating trailer-cast status for the series entry in which he's most superfluous (he literally does absolutely nothing for the first hour of Thirteen).

* The lone bright spot is Casey Affleck in Mexico. His misadventures in infiltrating a dice factory carry the genuine surprise and amusement that have gone missing from the rest of the film. Even his fake mustache is funny. Guess it's a shame then that it caps off with a punchline that gets uglier the more you think about it.

* The closing fireworks consciously evoke the stirring go-team triumph that ends Eleven. Doing so only reminded me of how the sharp elegance of that first film has been swallowed by shagginess and in-jokery. Bleah in my opinion.

* Can we start a petition to get Vincent Cassel out of Hollywood, seeing as how it obviously has no idea what to do with him?

Grade: C

3 Comments:

Anonymous Jenny's 47 said...

DANGITALL.

I put my Ocean's 13 comment in the Adrei Rublev blurb. DOH.

Thanks. I just dry-heaved having to write about Ocean's 13 a second time.

12:09 PM  
Blogger James said...

I like how you noticed that the film doesn't even try to generate suspense. There is literally not one moment where the film even so much as hints that the plan will go any way other than flawlessly.

In an odd way, I sort of respected the film's willingness not to even bother.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Dan E. said...

I never quite know how to feel about this film. After all, Soderbergh's stylistic flourishes (most notably those fades to red or yellow) show me that he isn't completely phoning this in as a director. On the other hand, this movie made me crave one of those late 50s heist films where the plan goes off without a hitch but is ultimately foiled by the characters' falability. In other words, I really wanted to rent Rififi after watching this. That can't be a bad thing, can it?

8:24 PM  

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