Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

(In theaters, December 2001) It should have been the coolest film of the year. Stephen Soderbergh, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Las Vegas… All the elements were there for extra-pure fun. Alas, the end movie ends up “just” being fun, and not much more. Oh, it’s entertaining enough: Soderbergh can’t make a bad film, and Ocean’s Eleven is one of the most slickly entertaining adult films of the year. George Clooney is ferociously in command, outshining everyone else. Technically, this is obviously a Soderbergh film: The colors are vivid, there is a touch too much grain and the editing is very, very competent. (Almost everyone who’s seen the original also agrees that the remake is better.) But somehow, it never reaches an extra level, almost as if despite everyone’s intentions, something failed to gel. I could point out various mistakes (such as the EMP effect only “temporarily” disabling the power grid.), lengths (such as the poker game) or weaknesses (the bland bit players, for instance), but that would send an overly harsh message. Suffice to say that Ocean’s Eleven will play well, once, but it’s doubtful that people will want to watch this one over and over again.

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