Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

I’m going to take a breath, and scream a few “Serenity now” chants before I begin bashing this, because if I don’t, I will unleash a tirade of swears, and vulgar one-liners that will make Lenny Bruce blush in his grave, and make your screen explode. To put it simply “Ocean’s Twelve” or “Whoring actors wanted a giant paycheck”, is the general zeitgeist of the film era. Take a bunch of big name actors, a few veterans, flash a lot of money in their face, and get them to come back for an incredibly forced sequel with an incredibly horrible plotline that not only stretches the creative line thin, but force feeds us an inane ridiculous set of events that never amount up to anything worth watching.

“Ocean’s Twelve” can stand as one of the worst sequels that I’ve ever seen, not only because every single star in here looks about as bored as I was, but because the incredibly uninspired writing by George Nolfi, pastes together different plot elements and never catches on to what made the first film so entertaining. I liked “Ocean’s Eleven” a lot; granted the original film wasn’t much of a masterpiece, but the remake was able to capture the novelty while improving on it. The first film had such a sense of entertainment and originality, that I was hooked from the beginning to the end. So, when the sequel arrived in theaters, with such an inane plot, I was naturally skeptical. This has such a smug sense of self-presence from start to finish, almost as if everyone was so pushed in to making this, so rather than trying to present this as a heist flick it ends up as a pathetic self-spoof from the very beginning.

This listless and often lifeless sequel has a very pristine gaudy glossy atmosphere that Soderbergh attempts to pass off as stylish when really it’s gaudy, absurdly gaudy and over done. There is no sense of creativity or energy here, and for nearly two hours this just drags on with an exhausting plot line that is never engrossing. This time, as an excuse to bring everyone back in to this picture, Benedict discovers where everyone has went and forces them to get his money back or he’ll kill them. Garcia chewing the scenery as he always does, over plays his miniscule role of four scenes for all its worth while looking like Velvet Jones. Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta Jones who literally demanded a role, plays a small part as an investigator in a very boring sub-plot trying to track down the entire Ocean gang. This may have, or could have been a very entertaining sequel had it not been so forced in every single aspect.

Nolfi’s script this time lacks the wry wit of the first film, not to mention none of the dialogue here is ever rapid fire or clever as the first one strived in achieving so much. The worst mistake for any such sequel as well as this sequel, is that it ends up becoming so boring. There’s nothing to this plot here, except a confusing amalgam of plot elements and characters thrown in to the fold, as well as a pointless climax that fails to be as shocking or jaw dropping as the first. “Ocean’s Twelve” has such a sense of arrogance to it, it’s never entertaining, and just insists on patting itself on the back. “Twelve” also has the unfortunate distinction of featuring the most ridiculous and infuriating self-congratulatory in-joke I have ever seen, that I basically saw coming from fifty miles away.

The unnecessary character of Tess plays a small role in the heist as Roberts further attempts to shove down our throats that she’s Julia Roberts as the character Tess played by Julia Roberts, pretends to be–get this–Julia Roberts, to get in to a hotel. I mean, seriously, what the fuck? Who thought this was a funny joke? Who thought this was a joke? Who thought this was funny? Either way, everyone in this sleepwalks through their roles, while everything that made the first film so exciting is lost in the translation. Soderbergh has never been about humility in his filmmaking, but “Ocean’s Twelve” stands as a true testament to the smug sense of arrogance and egotistic self-reference he’s utterly capable of. With every aspect of this lame brained sequel forced and contrived, Soderbergh can take note in knowing he’s not invincible.

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