A review of “Ocean's Thirteen” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: PG-13 for language and some sensuality

Run Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes

 

 

The boys are back in town, with a vengeance. The current Rat Pack picks up where they left off in “Ocean’s Eleven”, by-passing their tepid sequel in favor of something more…Eleven-ish.

No reason to complain as “Ocean’s” is a couple of action-packed hours of luscious eye-candy with a plot to boot. Not much of one but a catchy re-tread that re-works the concept of the world’s most improbable scam.

In a nutshell key players Danny Ocean (liquid velvet George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) set out to avenge the betrayal of their beloved guru Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). Tishkoff was a trusting half-partner in Vegas’ hottest hotel casino (The Bank) until kingpin Willie Bank (Al Pacino doing his sleaziest lounge lizard) screwed him over to the tune of millions.

The duplicity lands Tishkoff in critical condition from sheer shock. Ocean and company want revenge. What else to do but to take down Bank in a high-profile crash-and-burn?

Banks’ biggest strength is also his weakness – his ego. And sabotaging his casino on opening day is a plan that feels ever so sweet. But first they have to beat the Greco, an artificial intelligence security system that thinks and reasons and is so impenetrable it can’t be beat. Or can it?

The boys won’t rest until they make right by Tishkoff, carefully crafting a multi-tasking casino scam that works its way from the bottom – the Mexican factory that manufacturers magnetized dice – through the middle – rigged slots, snitched technology – all the way to the top in the form of filthy rich funds courtesy of formerly swindled money-man Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia).

The boys are in rare form; smooth and breezy in that cooler-than-thou way that garnered so many fans in 2001. The regulars – Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, etc. – do what they do best, plying criminal dexterity with hip panache. Pacino and right-hand woman Ellen Barkin ratchet up the tension, sexual and otherwise.  

Action is snappy enough to mask the narrative missteps. Cross, cross and double-crosses are slick and amusing and oh so familiar. This roll of the dice is a guaranteed winner; summer fun with a safety net.