Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Elliott Gould, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, and Shaobo Qin in Ocean's Thirteen (2007)


(director: Steven Soderbergh; screenwriters: Brian Koppelman /David Levien; cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh; editor: Stephen Mirrione; music: David Holmes; cast: George Clooney (Danny Ocean), Brad Pitt (Rusty Ryan), Matt Damon (Linus Caldwell), Andy Garcia (Terry Benedict), Don Cheadle (Basher Tarr), Bernie Mac (Frank Catton), Ellen Barkin (Abigail Sponder), Al Pacino (Willy Bank), Casey Affleck (Virgil Malloy), Scott Caan (Turk Malloy), Eddie Jemison (Livingston Dell), Shaobo Qin (Yen), Carl Reiner (Saul Bloom), Elliott Gould (Reuben Tishkoff), Vincent Cassel (François Toulour), Julian Sands (Greco Montgomery), David Paymer (Hotel Critic); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Jerry Weintraub; Warner Brothers Pictures; 2007)
“How many times can you keep conning the viewers and get away with it?”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

How many times can you keep conning the viewers and get away with it? The answer is until they stop buying tickets for the pleasure of that privilege, or as the leader of the modern rat pack says “You don’t run the same gag twice—you run the next gag.” This should mean an Ocean’s Fourteen in the future.

This third sequel of the original 1960 Rat Pack movie with Sinatra and Martin was relaunched as a glitzy but empty experience to showcase the modern laid-back rat pack of George Clooney subbing for “old blue eyes” and a mellow Brad Pitt as a more sober reminder of Dean Martin. That the sequels continue after the critically disappointing Ocean’s Twelve, only proves that these ganifs will try to get away with this theft as long as they can bring in the shekels. Overrated director Steven Soderbergh (“The Good German”/”Ocean’s Twelve”/”Bubble”) helms it with a certain smugness, giving the impression that he thinks he’s so clever to get away with this con job. It seems he has forgotten how to make a good film or perhaps hit it lucky early on in his career and is living off that rep as an inspired indie art film director. He sure hasn’t done anything worth much lately to be thought of as anything more than an artistic poser and a good photographer. It seems Soderbergh uses these money-making commercial ventures as a source of raising money to make small personal films. The only problem is that the small films also are not much more than these featherweight commercial films.

The senseless story is written by new team members Brian Koppelman and David Levien, and is set in a posh Las Vegas casino.

What goes for a plot, has one of Ocean’s boys, his former mentor Reuben (Elliott Gould), given a dirty double-deal by the untrustworthy villainous new ultra-modern casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino). He took Reuben’s land and help, with the promise of a casino partnership, and then gave him a choice of the boot or being tossed from the roof. This makes Reuben come down with a heart problem, and he can’t get out of bed. Danny Ocean (George Cloney) gathers together his boys from around the world to come to Las Vegas to aid Reuben and teach the powerful Trump-like Bank a lesson in the pocketbook about how it’s not smart to mess with one of their boys. They do this by an elaborate plan to rig the gambling machines (slots, roulette wheels, dice and card tables) and have the casino players march out on opening night with a huge hunk of Bank’s change, prevent the ego maniac from getting a Five-Diamond rating and steal some valuable diamonds that Bank has under tightest artificial intelligence security on display on a glass tower above the hotel.

Other regular Ocean boys are: Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Shaobo Qin and Carl Reiner. Ellen Barkin replaces Julia Roberts as the sex object, and as the lone female in the film the boys use her as the butt of some of their unfunny juvenile yuks about aging and for Damon’s seduction so he can enter the area where the diamonds are kept.

It’s a glib, cynical film that has the so-called rich good guys stealing off the evil richer guy, and playing to the fantasies of the crowd that they could also get in on the action and win some coin if they dressed so fine and hung out at the same spots these cool dudes use as their playground.