Posted to Movies at 10:40 AM on Jun 7, 2005
2004. Warner Brothers Pictures. Directed by Steven Soderburgh. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julia Roberts.
Remember how much fun Ocean's 11 was? It was the perfect popcorn movie--a caper with a nudge-nudge-wink-wink sense of humor. The plot moved at a good pace and everything made sense at the end. It wasn't a perfect piece of cinema, but it was different and funny and had great dialogue. Sometimes it got a little precious with its pop culture jokes, but it was still a good time.
So I guess they figured they'd take the fun stuff and crank it up a notch or five. And that's not good.
Writer George Nolfi was so busy making winky-winky in-jokes and self-referential sight gags that he forgot to write a plot. There's some dumb story about a creepy eurotrash thief (Vincent Cassel) who presents a challenge to our hero, Danny (George Clooney) and some other thing about an Interpol agent (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who is hot for Brad Pitt, but no real plot to speak of.
Julia Roberts returns as Clooney's wife, Tess. I've touched on my ambivalence toward Julia in other entries. I either like her a lot (Steel Magnolias) or or think she's awful (Conspiracy Theory). This is one of the latter-type performances. She is so gawky and skinny and clumsy as Tess. She was a far cry from the sexy glamorpuss Tess was supposed to be in Ocean's 11; she's even more graceless and schlumpy in the sequel.
The movie is really not bad for the first hour or so. It's a little sloppy and not very clear, but achieves 11-like levels of humor and adventure. Then the gang gets pinched during a heist attempt and Julia is called in to help out. The setup: Tess must impersonate Julia Roberts in order to gain entrance to a museum. Get it? Julia is playing Tess playing Julia! Get it? Hee! And then, Bruce Willis shows up! He thinks Tess is Julia! Ha! And he asks her about her husband, Danny, and Tess thinks he means her Danny. Isn't that funny? And Tess calls Julia's house and Julia talks to herself!
They waste nearly half an hour on that, people. It's the most self-indulgent waste of celluloid ever. It's unbelievably lame, especially considering that when the movie ends, you have no idea what just happened. Somehow, Danny's contest with the rich burglar comes to an end and a winner is decided. You know who wins, but you can't figure out why or how. There is no clear ending and no payoff. Without a "gotcha", a movie in this vein is nowhere.
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