A review of  Ocean's Eleven” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: PG-13 for language and some sexual content

Run Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

 

 

It goes without saying that “Ocean’s Eleven” is easy on the eyes.  With George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, and Andy Garcia moving across the screen, it’s a veritable visual feast.  With director Steven Soderbergh at the helm, one expects (and gets) more than eye candy.

The original 1960 version is a crashing bore – a tepid, misogynist, check-us-out Rat Pack staple. Soderbergh updates that story with contemporary cool, albeit one with its roots firmly planted in the land of Las Vegas lounge lizards.

The plot is simple.  Danny Ocean (Clooney) has just been sprung from a New Jersey penitentiary, raring to get cracking on his next heist.  The plan?  Handpick a crew of eleven specialists, and break into the vault that services three high-profile Las Vegas casinos – the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand.  The owner of said casinos is Terry Benedict (Garcia), who just happens to be dating Ocean’s ex-wife Tess (Roberts). 

Ocean calls on longtime collaborator Dusty Ryan (Pitt) - who’s spending his days mind-numbingly cold-decking Teen Beat cover boys - to help choose and recruit his professional crew.  A master pickpocket, a demolitions expert, a computer-hacking genius and a Chinese circus performer are all part of Ocean’s highly lucrative and extremely dangerous scheme.  With $160 million at stake, the intricate and nearly impossible plan needs to go off without a hitch.

It’s a simple story with a straightforward execution.  Soderbergh steers clear of the obvious Vegas flash, instead focusing on smooth, comfortable pacing that rubs off on his actors.  No histrionics, no emotional ballistics, just a modicum of tension and a well-oiled machine of a scheme.

  Washed-out look compliments the plot and benefits the chiseled looks of the guys, but doesn’t do anything for the ordinarily breathtaking Roberts.  Chemistry between the lads is flawless, in particular that of Clooney and Pitt, who lead the pack with effortless nonchalance. Not Soderbergh’s best of show, but well worth a look-see.