Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – Steven Soderbergh

George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon headline in the next film that I watched as I work my way through Ten Bad Dates With De Niro. The list this title comes from is Remakes That Are Better Than The Original.

And on this count, I agree. As much as I love the Rat Pack’s take on a Las Vegas heist film, Soderbergh’s film pops with glitz, glamour, great dialogue, and the audience simply enjoying watching an all-star cast have what looks to be a great time on screen.

Clooney is Danny Ocean, an ex-con, newly released, who alongside Rusty (Pitt) recruits a group of nine other guys to knock over the bank vault of The Bellagio, which is run by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) who Danny has a personal vendetta against. It seems Terry is now with Danny’s ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts).

In a film filled with cons within cons, the film is a popcorn confection delight. There’s not a lot of real substance to it, but it’s damned fun. I mean check out the rest of the cast, Elliot Gould, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, and Shaobo Qin.

There’s such a great chemistry between the cast that you want to see them pull it off, and giving Garcia’s Benedict some very unlikable traits, and unappreciative of Tess, well, just desserts as far as the view is concerned.

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Everybody knows it’s just supposed to be fun. And we know Danny and his crew are going to get away with it, the delightful thing is seeing how he does it. The banter throughout the movie doesn’t detract from it either, there’s a nice, natural ease to the dialogue which makes the whole thing all the more enjoyable. You think you’re watching a bunch of guys hanging around and figuring out how to steal a load of cash.

This is one of those perfect rainy day movies. It doesn’t require a lot of emotional investment, and simply wants to entertain. The film has no ulterior motives, it just wants to keep you occupied for a couple of hours.

One could argue that Clooney, Pitt and the rest have never been better, at least in a slightly comedic outing. And obviously audiences agreed as the film spawned two sequels and an all female led cast spin-off.

And while I do rather like Sinatra, Martin and Davis their film lacks the pop that Soderbergh and his cast bring to this Las Vegas outing, all bolstered by a swinging jazz themed score by David Holmes.

The whole film feels like a sly nod and wink to viewers, as if we’re in on the joke. You feel like you’re on the inside, and it’s a good feeling.

With this kind of recommendation I can’t wait to see what Ten Bad Dates With De Niro brings me next.

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