The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features


Ocean's Eleven

The problem with remaking Ocean's Eleven is that, quite honestly, the original was a pretty bad movie, so you're not exactly starting out with strong material.

The original Ocean's Eleven was basically an opportunity for the Rat Pack to drink, party and cavort with their friends, occasionally on camera. Probably a lot of fun to make, but not a lot of fun to watch. Anyone who wants the experience can basically dig out an old tape you made with your buddies in college and laugh at how everyone seems to have a drink and a smoke in their hands at all times. Same difference.

However, Ocean's Eleven - 2001 is a different movie. The difference is not so much because of the cast- nobody ever said George Clooney and Brad Pitt were a couple of choir boys tucking themselves in with their Bibles, and hell, Don Cheadle has already played Sammy Davis Jr., now he simply plays one of Sammy's characters.

No, what makes this movie interesting is the director, Academy Award Winner Steven Soderbergh. There are certain people who have vowed to watch Soderbergh direct curdling milk. Most of those people would not be caught dead in a big budget, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts crime caper movie. As such, we have the collision of two worlds.

Ocean's Eleven isn't exactly a remake. Sure it has the same title. It also has the same overt theme. Daniel Ocean leads a team of eleven men in an attempt to rob three Las Vegas casinos. But right about there, the similarities end. For one, aside from Mr. Ocean, every other character has a different name. Sure Don Cheadle plays the demolition expert, just as Sammy did forty years earlier, but Cheadle's character is Roscoe Means, while Sammy was Josh Howard.

Also, the crime itself is a bit more involved than Frank and Dean's little caper. After watching the original, you wondered why people didn't rob the casinos more often, it didn't look that hard, and you apparently didn't have to be sober to succeed.

Also, the film doesn't totally suck.

But all comparisons aside, let's get down to the important stuff. Was the film watchable?

Well sure it was watchable. But that's about it. If you like to watch George Clooney be dashing and suave, check this out. If you like to watch Brad Pitt be a hunk, have a go. If you like watching Matt Damon be slightly wooden and superfluous, this is your flick.

Everyone gets a moment or two. Carl Reiner and Elliot Gould admirably show the youngsters how to smug their way through a movie. Casey Affleck and Scott Caan do their best to convince people they are more than just related to Ben Affleck and James Caan. Bernie Mac plugs his new show on Fox. You get the picture.

Is it a work of art? No. Is it a bad movie? No. Have fun, check it out, there are worse ways to spend two hours of your life, like watching Jurassic Park 3, for example.

Steven Soderbergh saves the movie from being an A-list smirk-fest. When you have eleven main characters to introduce, it can be time consuming and plodding, and it helps to have an imaginative director at the controls. Granted, no one's going to be calling for Soderbergh to pick up another Oscar for this baby, but just imagine if some talentless hack had directed this, say, whoever directed Supernova. I shudder to think.

When the pigeon comes home to roost and the work is done, Ocean's Eleven is like a stray kitten. Fluffy. Cute. Liable to vomit on you of you feed it too much chicken. To see or not to see is a question only you can answer- just know what you are in store for if you go: A bunch of actors dripping coolness off of their lapels and ho-humming their way through a crime caper.

Ocean's Eleven gets 3 Babylons. Straight down the middle. Neither good, nor bad. Smack dab on the 50 yard line. Enjoy!


Editor's Note:

"When the pigeon comes home to roost and the work is done"???? What the hell does that mean? Is that even a mixed metaphor? I can't even begin to edit that because I have no idea whether it's right or wrong- if I just nuked it, I may be eliminating the principle glue of this eview, but I can't tell. Jesus, my job is difficult.


Ocean's Eleven
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Smirking George Clooney, Smiling Brad Pitt, Peppy Julia Roberts, Heavily Accented Don Cheadle, Dour Matt Damon, Frisky Andy Garcia, Bug-Eyed Bernie Mac, Flamboyant Elliot Gould, and Old Carl Reiner. That's only nine. And Julia and Andy aren't really part of the eleven. So that's really just seven. Hold on^ Little Scott Caan and Even More Little Casey Affleck. That's nine. Damn. Oh wait! The acrobat! Shaobo Qin! That's ten! And the final member.. Hell, I dunno, let's go with Morgan Fairchild.

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