By the way, did I mention how cool the opening credits sequence was in the Sinatra version of Ocean's Eleven? It reminded me of the credits for It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, which turns out to be because they were both by Saul Bass..
Anyway. Because the team got away with the money last movie, they had to spend a whole bunch of movie justifying the existence of the movie. And frankly, I didn't buy it anyway. These guys have, between them, something like 40-60 million left over; they can't borrow the rest to get Benedict off their backs? And what about all that Keyser Söze talk about Benedict, how he'll hunt you down and kill your whole family if you cross him? I don't believe he'd just tell them all they have a few weeks to pay him back and then everything's forgiven. And what's with the difficulty finding a job worth that much? Do you really have to go get an assignment? Can't you just go find something worth a lot of money and then steal it?
I think there's at least one too many motivations. If you want to make a movie about a team of ex-thieves who are being forced out of retirement by someone they owe money to, that's fine. Likewise, if you want to make a movie about a challenge between master thieves, that's also fine. But they're not the same movie.
Also, I'm not sure how any of these jobs are supposed to be profitable. Why not just keep the money they spend on house-lifting devices and hologrammatic Faberge eggs? Oh, and tiny, perfectly-crafted models of art galleries. Not to mention the full-size version of the Bellagio vault they made for the last movie.
This movie brings back some of the flaws from the 1960 version. In the 2001 Ocean's Eleven, they proceed fairly quickly: first they establish what the heist is going to be, then they spend most of the movie pulling it off. In both Ocean's Twelve and the 1960 Ocean's Eleven, the whole first hour of the movie is spent watching banter before we learn the actual plot.
They took the subplot I cared least about and made it the focus of the movie. I don't care about Matt Damon acting naive and out of his depth; the whole point of these movies is watching cool actors act cool and in-control. And not, say, spending a lot of camera time on a cop who coincidentally knows Brad Pitt's character.
You want a fun heist movie with a lot of scenes in Rome? Go watch Hudson Hawk.
I did kind of enjoy the idea Julia Roberts's character pretending to be Julia Roberts, because it reminded me of the lines in His Girl Friday that do that. However, the subsequent scenes with Bruce Willis went on forever and were not funny. Not like, say, Hudson Hawk, which is much more fun.
So, Ocean's Thirteen. Is there really buzz about it? The 2001 Ocean's Eleven was pleasant enough, I guess, but I would have thought that it was too insubstantial to generate a strong following. And Ocean's Twelve wasn't very good at all, so I'm surprised they're trying again. Heck, I'm surprised they can get everyone back together, even if they cheat on people's screen time the way they did on Bernie Mac and Carl Reiner this time.