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Calm seas

Movies | New Ocean's never gets choppy

Issue: "Crossing borders," June 23, 2007

At least one thing separates Ocean's Thirteen from its Vegas crime comedy predecessors, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Eleven: suspense. For a movie billed as part comedy, part crime thriller, Ocean's Thirteen (rated PG-13 for brief sensuality and some vulgarity) delivers almost none of the suspense of the first two offerings. What the latest installment in Steve Soderbergh's trilogy does provide is a workmanlike execution of a proven formula.

This time, a powerful Las Vegas casino boss (Al Pacino) crosses a member of the Danny Ocean (George Clooney) gang of con men. From there, the plot plays out like one would expect. Ocean's gang plots revenge, runs into snags, and manages an eventual-and narrow-triumph.

The film plays out like an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine. And exactly like a Goldberg machine, the destination isn't nearly as exciting as the trip. To rip off the enemy casino boss, Ocean's gang must find ways to rig the games at his new casino. In order to rig craps, the group decides-in possibly the least likely solution to the problem of loading a set of dice-to send a pair to infiltrate a Mexican factory where the dice are made and do the job there.

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Thankfully, Ocean's Thirteen has enough star power to light up Las Vegas. And the talent of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Andy Garcia, and others alongside Pacino and Clooney provide enough entertaining moments to make Ocean's Thirteen a decent, innocuous piece of summer diversion.

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