Ocean’s Eleven

Ocean’s Eleven posterRated PG-13
Running Time: 116 Minutes
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay by Ted Griffin
Loosely based on the 1960 original starring Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack.”


This movie is fun. It’s not going to make the American Film Institute’s top 100 list, but it’s worth the price of an afternoon matinée. This is due to two major components:

[1] Star Power: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner…


Danny stares across the table at his ex wife, Tess, trying to gauge her new relationship with the casino owner, Benedict.

Does he make you laugh?

He doesn’t make me cry.

Although the story’s plot is weak, the other elements are still compelling enough to draw you in and Soderbergh does a good job with directing and cinematography. Frankly, I wasn’t all that impressed with his direction in “Traffic” or “Erin Brockovich,” and thought they were way overrated. I did like “Out of Sight” and “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” though. I figured it would be a fifty-fifty chance if I would like this film, but betting on Soderbergh payed off. He manages to suspend the disbelief of the audience for 116 minutes and pull our gaze away from a swiss cheese of plot holes to pay attention to the witty repartee of Pitt and Clooney. The two male leads ooze coolness and deliver Griffin’s lines with finesse.

I can’t compare this film to the original 1960 version because I haven’t seen it. From what I gather, though, there is little resemblance between the films, other than the lead character’s name and the goal to rob some casinos.


Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is shoved in front of a parole board where his backstory is revealed. He is a long-time con man and thief, but a slick one who was only caught once _ though blamed for dozens of successful scams.

In the next scene, Danny is seen walking away from a Jersey Prison with a 3-day beard, dressed in a tuxedo(presumably that he was arrested wearing in the first place). He soon trades the old tux for a handsome tweed jacket and a plane ticket to Vegas (thus breaking his parole).

In Vegas, Danny makes contact with Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), an old friend of his who has attempted to go legit by becoming a personal coach to a bunch of movie stars who are wannabe poker players. Rusty is disgusted with being a tutor to vacuous teen heartthrobs, and is more than happy to join Danny on a new job. The two men set about putting together a team of eleven (Ocean’s 11) thieves to assist them in a heist. The job consists of three separate casinos (the Mirage, the MGM Grand, and the Bellagio) owned by Terry Benedict.

It just so happens that Benedict is the new beau of Danny’s ex, Tess (Julia Roberts). If all works as Danny hopes, then Benedict will get his come-uppance and Tess will run back into his arms.

There are plot holes to be sure. First, they have to plan several cons to get through security, and a failure or hitch in any one of them would spell the end of the theft. This strains credulity at times. Second, they build a full scale duplicate of the vault used by the three casinos, whose components, I’m sure would be very unique, and anyone buying them would arouse suspicion (Something akin to just wandering out and buying weapons-grade plutonium.). And third, when there is a hitch in their plan to re-wire some electrical circuits, they run right out to a college research laboratory and pick up an experimental blastwave device designed to destroy circuits just like an atom bomb would. Come on!

And lastly, I have to say, and I know I’ll catch hell for this, but Julia Roberts (Tess) doesn’t impress me. She’s a good actress, but her constant labeling by entertainment media as “America’s Sweetheart” is more than a little annoying. I wasn’t notified when the vote for America’s Sweetheart took place, I guess. Julia’s much too gawky to pull off the Audrey Hepburn pixie look she tries out in this film. With her hair pulled back tightly, she looks like a big-eared, grinning Olive Oil. There’s a scene where she walks down the stairs in slow motion and Linus (Matt Damon’s character who’s been spying on her for weeks) says “This is the best part of my day.” Simply not believable. Pick another girl, Hollywood. “Pretty Woman” was almost 12 years ago!

Anyway, enough bellyaching. Overall, it’s a good flick and worth seeing.