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Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Oceans Eleven - Classic Boxset DVD Edition

Are You In Or Out?

Directed by:

Steven Soderbergh

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 116 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

‘Ocean’s Eleven’, Steven Soderbergh’s remake of the 1960 Rat Pack vanity project of the same name, is less about the art of the heist – or the heist itself, for that matter – than it is about convincing us all how cool it is. From George Clooney with his trademark ooh-look-at-me-I’m-a-bit-suave persona, to Ted Griffin’s screenplay priding itself on being slicker-than-your-average, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ couldn’t be any cooler if the DVD came encased in a tiny Arthur Fonzerelli leather jacket. Woop-de-sodding-do.

As Billy – sorry, I mean Danny – Ocean, Clooney is the dapper ex-con who’s no sooner regained his freedom than he’s off planning to rob three Las Vegas casinos, all of which just happen to be owned by the boyfriend (Andy Garcia) of his ex-missus (Julia Roberts). So, as the title suggests, he finds himself a team of ten other like-minded crims and gets cracking.

Among his gang are Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner and Don Cheadle, the latter of which sports a Cockney accent so enthrallingly bad that it makes Dick Van Dyke’s ‘Mary Poppins’ effort sound like that of a born-and-bred Pearly Queen. Seriously, Cheadle could have done any of the following and the resultant noise would have sounded infinitely more convincing than his attempt at a London twang: a) farted into a soup bowl, b) thrown a piece of fruit against a wall c) slumped in a corner and wept. Had he chosen any of those three options, his part in the film would also have been infinitely more entertaining.

Not that I’d want anyone to think I had a particularly deep dislike of the film. It does have some really good bits, and there’s little fault to find with Soderbergh’s accomplished handling of the material. And, Cheadle aside, most of the performances hit the mark: Clooney and Pitt are tailor-made for their irritatingly laid-back characters, Roberts’ role is small but hits the mark, and Garcia produces another on-the-button display to suggest he remains one of Hollywood’s more undervalued performers.

Also to its credit is the fact that it’s always light-hearted in tone, although I couldn’t help but think that it would have been funnier if it wasn’t so pre-occupied with ramming its “coolness” down our throats. Personally, I reckon funny is a more valuable commodity than cool any day of the week.

It's Got: Good use of “pony”, one of my own personal favourite Cockney terms, me old sparrow!

It Needs: In the words of Elvis’ contribution to the soundtrack, “A little less conversation, a little more action.”

DVD Extras A fairly insignificant movie it may be, but there’s no doubting the fact that this ‘Classic Boxset’ edition of the DVD really pushes the boat out on the Extras front. You get two feature length commentaries (one with Soderbergh and Griffin, the other with Damon, Garcia and Pitt), three behind-the-scenes documentaries, trailers, and some DVD-ROM enhanced features. And that’s not all either, because also included in the box is an exclusive soundtrack, collectable senitype, commemorative information booklet, and a poster. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Foolproof, Ocean's 11 (the 1960 original), Ocean's Twelve

Summary

Cooler than a cucumber plantation, but not as funny.

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