'Thirteen's' a Charm

'Thirteen's' a Charm

Film Review

At the end of any good heist movie, there is a feeling you get in your stomach as the plan starts to come together. Despite all the setbacks and twists and turns, the perfectly executed robbery works for our intrepid antiheroes; and once you figure out how it is going to happen, that feeling in your stomach appears.

"Ocean’s Eleven" is the perfect example of a heist movie creating that feeling and "Ocean’s Twelve" is pretty much the antithesis of it. "Ocean’s Thirteen" (Rated: PG-13; Running Time: 122 minutes) is, according to director Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, supposed to make up for the sequel's faults and in many ways it does.

The entire cast — the one thing all three movies do absolutely right — is back for "Thirteen" with that same "shooting-the-sh… " attitude that makes the films feel like they’re ever so slightly pulling back the curtain. Now the eclectic band of robbers has returned to Vegas (Vegas baby! Vegas!), with a not-so-sincere sense of nostalgia for the good old days of Sin City before multimillion dollar theme casinos. The movie kicks right into heist planning as Rueben (Elliot Gould) is double-crossed by hotel tycoon Willie Bank (Al Pacino) and all eleven, err, thirteen, no wait, fourteen, or however many of Ocean’s (George Clooney) men team up to exact revenge by ruining the opening night of Bank’s brand new casino by robbing him of his five-diamond hotel award — hitting him hard since all powerful men’s true weakness is hubris (thank you, Homer).

The heist, if it can be called that, involves shutting down the casino's elaborate security system, rigging the entire floor's games so that they all pay out, stealing Bank’s most treasured possession and causing a minor earthquake. It is by far one of the most elaborate and at times convoluted heist films, but it never loses its charm or sense of fun like the second film did; its twist ending is far from as ridiculous as "Twelve’s" but nowhere near as satisfying as "Eleven’s."

Just as in the second film, no one has told the new members of the cast — Pacino and Ellen Barkin — that everyone else is just here to have fun, so they turn in performances of actual substance instead of the charming (What else can George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon be?) laissez-faire emoting of Oceans’ umpteen.

In "Thirteen’s" case, this really isn’t a problem because it’s not all about the crime anymore; that feeling in the pit of your stomach isn’t as important simply because the sexiest group of men on any screen — Gould has a certain something, too — keep on insisting that you have fun just like they are.