El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by George Nolfi
Based on characters created by George Clayton Johnson & Jack Golden Russell

Ocean’s Twelve is a con job. I’m not talking about the plot; I’m talking about the movie itself. The makers of this film are perpetrating a fraud, so call your local bunco squad and the F.B.I. These people are trying to swindle you out of your hard-earned money so they can pay back investors who allowed them to have a luxurious European vacation when they were supposed to be making a movie. Instead they created a mishmash of bad ideas connected by celluloid, a horrible travesty to the art form, a middle finger to the movie-going public. They think we, the movie-going public, are so dumb that if they gave us pretty faces in fancy locations, then we would be too distracted to notice how bad this garbage is. Well, I noticed and let me tell you; Ocean’s Twelve makes the E! Channel look like Masterpiece Theatre.

The producers raised money under the pretense that they were going to make a follow-up to Ocean’s Eleven, which was an absolute bore due to its terrible script filled with one-dimensional characters who have no personality traits other than cool, which they aren’t, and a plot to rob a casino that entailed a ridiculously unbelievable, convoluted plan that even Rube Goldberg would have found excessive. While watching it, I developed an urge to smoke; under hypnosis, I later discovered my brain was trying to induce a stroke in an effort to save itself from the movie.

Somehow, and I didn’t think it was possible, the producers found a script that made even less sense than the first. The film starts with Terry Benedict, who somehow has the time to stop running his casinos, to travel across the country and approach every member of Ocean’s gang to threaten their lives unless they return the money that was stolen in the previous film. The only reason he does this is so we can see Andy Garcia act. A real man of Benedict’s stature would not waste his time like this or expose himself to the potential danger. Besides, he might run into trouble with the local hired goons union.

Benedict learns of everyone’s whereabouts from a thief in Europe, known as the Night Fox, on the condition that Benedict gives the gang two weeks to pay. Please don’t ask how the Night Fox got this information. If the writer doesn’t care, why should I? Since the gang is so well known in the US, they head to Europe, which was all part of the Night Fox’s plan to issue them a challenge: if they can steal a Faberge egg from an Italian museum before he does, then he will pay off their debt to Benedict. Since everyone is a little short, they agree to this arrangement.

The entire plot is misdirection to deceive the audience rather than deceiving any characters in the story. We see the gang get caught trying to steal the egg, but the Night Fox had stolen it the night before the exhibition. Of course, the gang had actually stolen it before it got to the museum because the legendary thief, La Marque, told them about the secret way the egg travels when it goes to exhibitions.

La Marque is the prime mover of the story. He sets the whole plot in motion by talking about how great Danny Ocean is in front of The Night Fox. He knew the Fox’s ego couldn’t take it, which would cause the Fox to find a way to challenge Ocean, which would cause the gang to come to Europe, which would cause them to seek his advice and all the other “which would cause” phrases in the chain, resulting in La Marque ultimately getting his own prize. Of course, he could have easily accomplished the same goal with a phone call or a letter, and the gang could have ended the contest once they stole the egg, but that would make sense.

The worst scene in the film is Tess impersonating Julia Roberts so the remaining members of the gang who aren’t jailed can attempt to steal the egg, which they know is a fake since they had already stolen it; however, this appears to be the only way to get them all in jail and out of the country, although they wouldn’t have been in jail if they had left after stealing the egg. Do you sense a pattern? The plans almost go awry when Bruce Willis recognizes Julia/Tess in the hotel lobby. Someone must have lost a bet and owed Bruce a trip to Italy.

And now, someone owes me. If there are any lawyers looking to form a class action suit against the producers, count me in.