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IN SHORT: A wee slow but a pretty fair "take a date and enjoy
After two successful scams, aging Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) decides to invest his earnings in a new Las Vegas hotel/casino, partnered fifty-fifty with one Willie Bank (Al Pacino) who will, to put it nicely, rip Reuben off royally, putting the man into a depression so severe, he may as well be in coma. When "our collective heroes" send Danny Ocean (George Clooney) to offer Bank a "Billy Martin" -- slang for 'making it right by paying it back' -- Bank refuses. So is set in motion this year's scheme, not just to rip off huge amounts of money from the mark by busting the progressive slot machine jackpot [the one that's always in the millions], beating the roulette tables and most of the other games in the new casino all at the same time. No, the point of this year's action is to break (the) Bank as completely as he had done to Reuben.
The scheme necessitates the faking of an earthquake, accomplished with the aid of a borrowed [English Channel] chunnel bore -- do not ask us to explain any of this, save that in the course of business, said equipment breaks. The only other equipment must be purchased flat out and Ocean and crew don't have the money to do so. Rather than let the deal collapse, hat in hand all go begging to former mark Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Benedict holds no apparent grudge against Ocean, though he does demand a very high payback and a guarantee that Pacino's casino will be guaranteed to crap out.
You don't have to follow any of this or remember all of the players or what went on in most of Ocean's Eleven or Ocean's Twelve. Really. We wouldn't recommend starting here -- the earlier movies are too much fun to disregard them -- but those expecting to see Julia Roberts once again will find her character shunted aside somewhere in the first half dozen lines of dialog. Give or take.
Short of Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), you really don't have to remember almost any of the supporting crew. Oceans Thirteen does its best to get everyone something to do, with the net result that nothing stands out. Added to Ocean's team, sorta kinda, is Eddie Izzard who exists solely to explain everything that Ocean's crew will face security-wise. Exposition finished, he disappears into the woodwork or something. There's interesting side action in a Mexican subplot designed to reveal how our "heroes" load the dice for "The Bank" -- [Pacino's] casino and spur a revolution South of the Border all at the same time.
In Vegas, Pacino's right-hand sledgehammer, and we use the term politely, is portrayed by Ellen Barkin, who runs the operations of the hotel and keeps an FBI agent (Bob Einstein) in her pocket just to make sure she can check out suspicious characters. She is, ultimately, the key to the one last glitch in Ocean's plan: the demand by financier Benedict to steal a specific 5 Diamond necklace -- 5 Diamonds is the highest rating a hotel can get and Bank hotels have gone 5 for 5. Thus 5 necklaces for Mrs. Bank. While Ocean's crew is at work to humiliate and rip off Bank, they're also ensuring that his new hotel can't possibly get a 5 Diamond award. This involves the ever popular David Paymer as the "anonymous" inspector and yields way too many giggles for far too many awful situations.
Truthfully, it's a sloppy movie. More like a whole messa big name Hollywood stars hanging out having a good time and getting a god paycheck while making a good dateflick for the rest of us. Not that there's anything wrong with that . . . <vbg>
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Ocean's Thirteen, he would have paid . . .
Take a date. You'll not be ripped off here.
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