As luxuriously slick as the warm vat of hair wax that went into its making, heist caper Ocean's Twelve also oozes with the smarminess of director Steven Soderbergh and his celebrity pals. George Clooney, along with his well-groomed gang of merry thieves, are all too happy to coast on their combined starriness and lounge like catalogue models in exotic European locations. But where Ocean's Eleven had the moves to match its style, this sequel drags its heels.
It takes three years for casino boss Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) to figure out who pinched $160,000,000 from his vault, but when he finally does, it looks like curtains for Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang of eleven. Benedict demands his money in two weeks with interest, or else, which is fair enough except it's spent already. On the bright side, this provides an excuse for jetting off with the lads to Amsterdam, Paris and Rome to pull off a string of audacious heists while affording Rusty (Brad Pitt) a chance to drop in on old flame Isabel (Catherine Zeta-Jones) - who just happens to be a cop.
"SPARKS STILL FLY BETWEEN THE LEADS"
Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Don Cheadle also rejoin the party, which, in spite of its VIP guest list, peters out after about half an hour. Like the original Rat Pack movie, it's virtually plotless and the addition of a villainous Vincent Cassel only highlights the dearth of intrigue. While sparks still fly between the leads and there are a fair few laughs, a heavy reliance on wink-wink nudge-nudge moments soon wears thin. A final in-joke involving Julia Roberts is especially grating and perfectly encapsulates the self-indulgent smugness and utter disdain for honest storytelling which are the film's major downfalls. When you boil it down to basics though, Ocean's Twelve is just plain dull and given its $110m price tag, that's the boldest crime of all.