Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

(In theaters, June 2007) After the self-indulgent disaster that was Ocean’s Twelve, expectations were low for this third modern Danny Ocean adventure. Fortunately, director Soderbergh is back to his audience-friendly persona this time around, and if the result may not be terrific, it’s good enough to warrant another look at the crew. This time, the plot goes back to Vegas and the action gets more diffuse: rather than rob something, our bunch of criminal protagonists avenges a friend by cracking open a casino for all takers. The multiplicity of schemes doesn’t make for a focused caper plot, but it provides enough choice for everyone: if a particular subplot is dull or vaguely uncomfortable (such as the hotel-from-hell contamination), just wait thirty seconds and something more interesting will come along. This buffet approach makes for an audience-friendly vibe that is reflected elsewhere in the film: the characters are at easy with each other and if the dialogues are still elliptical, they’re quite enjoyable. Even the walk-on roles get their chance to shine: Eddie Izzard gets a particularly good five minutes as an expert who demands exposition. It all amounts to a sweet caper film. While the emotional charge of the film is thin and the speaking female characters can be counted on one hand, Ocean’s Thirteen is a decent way for the trilogy to end –we don’t really need a fourth one.

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