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"Ocean's Eleven" Movie Review

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Julia Roberts is one lucky woman. In "Ocean's Eleven," she's the only female in a cast consisting of handsome - and talented - hunks, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia. It must have been quite a sacrifice on her part to put up with such tough working conditions.

Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh did not rely heavily on the original Rat Pack version of the film while shooting his updated "Ocean's Eleven." Soderbergh states, "The original 'Ocean's Eleven' is probably more notorious than it is good. It was the first time that the Rat Pack appeared en masse in a film. They were the epitome of cool and none of us felt like we wanted to compare ourselves to them or to what they were up to. You can't beat that. We took a completely different tack."

George Clooney notes, "The truth is, most people never saw the original 'Ocean's Eleven.' They just think they have because those guys were the coolest. Nobody touches Frank and Sammy and Dean, and we won't ever be that cool. But we do have a really great story."

Romance plays a major role in Soderbergh's version of "Ocean's Eleven." Danny Ocean (Clooney) gets out of jail and immediately hooks up with old buddies in Las Vegas. Far from being rehabilitated, Danny hatches a plot to break into the supposedly impregnable vaults of Vegas' three largest casinos. And why does he select these particular casinos? In large part because of the fact that Terry Benedict (Garcia) owns them, and Terry just happens to be involved with Danny's ex-wife, Tess (Roberts). It's amazing what some men will do to win back the heart of a woman. Danny still loves and desires Tess, but she's tired of his choice of career. Danny confronts Tess as he tries to manipulate his way back into her life, while shoving Terry out of it. Danny and Tess' fast-paced, sharp exchanges of dialogue are exquisite, highlighting the chemistry between the two characters, and between the actors themselves.

Roberts recalls, "When I read the script, I was even more pleased because my part was such great fun. Danny and Tess are so precise in the way that they speak to each other that you can see all the levels and emotions that go on between the two of them."

Roberts describes her character as "more than just the girl. There's intrigue and she has some difficult crosses to bear. Tess and Terry are supposed to be boyfriend-girlfriend, but then Tess has to keep evaluating her relationship with her ex-husband. So nothing is as it seems really."

Does "Ocean's Eleven" work in 2001? It does in that it succeeds in being entertaining, fast-paced, and just plain fun. "Ocean's Eleven" serves up some of Hollywood's biggest stars in a film that's as enjoyable to watch as it evidently was to film. Clooney may believe this cast isn't as cool as the original Rat Pack, but the onscreen antics of Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Garcia, and the rest of this talented ensemble, come close to the epitome of movie coolness.

Overall Grade: B+

"Ocean's Eleven" is rated PG-13 for some language and sexual content.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Producer: Jerry Weintraub
Executive Producers: John Hardy, Susan Ekins and Bruce Berman
Screenplay: Screenplay by Ted Griffin. Based on a screenplay by Harry Brown and Charles Lederer and a story by George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell.
Cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh
Film Editor: Stephen Mirrione, A.C.E.
Production Designer: Philip Messina
Composer: David Holmes
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
Art Director: Keith Cunningham

Danny Ocean - George Clooney
Rusty Ryan - Brad Pitt
Linus Caldwell - Matt Damon
Terry Benedict - Andy Garcia
Basher Tarr - Don Cheadle
Reuben Tishkoff - Elliot Gould
Tess Ocean - Julia Roberts
Virgil Malloy - Casey Affleck
Turk Malloy - Scott Caan
Frank Catton - Bernie Mac
Saul Bloom - Carl Reiner
Livingston Dell - Eddie Jemison
Yen - Shaobo Qin

Photos © 2001 Warner Bros. Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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