A key part of the big casino robbery in OCEAN'S ELEVEN, a remake of the
1960's Rat Pack movie, requires the crooks to turn off the electricity to
the entire city of Las Vegas. It's too bad that they couldn't have tapped
some of the power grid for the movie itself, which is so slow and energy
depleted that you wonder if perhaps you're just seeing a rough cut. Maybe
there's another sizzling version with a half hour of the fat removed. Then
you realize that you are seeing the final cut by Steven Soderbergh
(TRAFFIC). One guesses that he must not have test screened the picture,
since most audiences will probably react like ours, which gave it one big
A thriller that doesn't thrill and a heist that's not much fun, OCEAN'S
ELEVEN has a wonderful cast and director, which proves that even the best
talent can produce a dud. Filmed handsomely, the movie's production is top
drawer. But screenwriter Ted Griffin, who brought us a movie about human
cannibalism (RAVENOUS), can't think of much original to do this time. Most
of the "surprises" are quite predictable, such as security cameras which are
just displaying pretaped images and cops who aren't really cops. The
unbelievable and confusing story has impossibility layered on impossibility,
and then the bad guys easily beat the intricate system. ENTRAPMENT or even
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE is a masterpiece in comparison to OCEAN'S ELEVEN.
Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and most of the cast do a quite creditable job under
the circumstances. The same cannot be said for Julia Roberts and George
Clooney. Roberts is given almost nothing to do as Tess, Danny Ocean's
(Clooney) ex-wife. Still, she just phones in her minimal part. Clooney, as
the mastermind of the heist, is an acting black hole. Whenever he appears,
he sucks energy from the other stars on the set, making an already lame
movie even more so.
A sleek snoozer, the movie doesn't give you any reason to see it. Still, if
you wait for video and keep your finger on the fast-forward button, it could
be made tolerable.
OCEAN'S ELEVEN runs 1:56. It is rated PG-13 for "some language and sexual
content" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, liked the movie, especially the twists, and gave it
***. His biggest complaint was that it dragged a bit.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes