Ocean's Eleven (2001)
***.3 GM
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Bernie Mac, Shaobo Qin, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould


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Sometimes all a heist flick tries to do is show you a cool new way to pull off a crime, and sometimes that's all you need out of it.

The only real story in this film is a bunch of affable chaps getting together to rob some casinos owned by a dick nobody likes played by Andy Garcia. Sure, there's a half-assed supblot featuring an unimpressive Julia Roberts as George Clooney's ex-wife (who's currently seeing Garcia, of course), but really, all anyone really cares about is how they're gonna pull off the job and who gets to do the coolest things in the process.

It's pleasing to watch, since everybody's a good joe. Clooney's always a likable bloke if you keep him out of superhero outfits, Pitt's got his watchable first-nine-tenths-of-"Seven" mojo going rather than his last-one-tenth-of-"Seven" cluelessness, Damon is... well, interchangeable with Pitt - a little pretty-boy overload here, despite the fact that I like both actors - and then you've got guys like Carl Reiner, Bernie Mac and Don Cheadle running around, and you're just damn glad to see 'em. It's got a very Rat Pack feel about it - a bunch of guys you wouldn't mind jokin' around and quaffin' a few brewskis with getting together, hangin' out and doing some fun stuff, and nobody gets all that pissy with anybody else. No unsavory betrayals, nobody pulls dirty shit on any of the gang... just a common goal to screw over Andy Garcia.

The heist itself is a pretty interestingly plotted set of shenanigans that's good at keeping people guessing. There's never really much doubt that things are going to work out in the end, but sometimes you just don't care that much about dramatic tension. Let it go and watch fun guys do fun things and have fun doing it. Wheeee! S'alright by me, chief.

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