A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ocean's Eleven is a slick caper movie that keeps the audience rooting for appealing, clever con artists and thieves throughout. The fact that their target is a ruthless and violent business tycoon is meant to lessen the immorality and illegality of their adventure. There's lots of suspense, a few action-packed moments with some hard punches thrown, several explosions, a faked death, and two guards gassed into unconsciousness. No one is hurt or killed. Swearing is occasional, including "f—k," "s—t," "goddamn," "screwing," "hell." In one scene there is a mock racist argument during which characters call one another "cracker" and "colored." Sexuality is limited to one kiss as well as a few wide shots of strippers and a lap dance in an upscale nightclub. This film, a loose remake of the 1960 film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, spawned the sequels Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen.
What's the story?
In OCEAN'S ELEVEN, a loose remake of the 1960 film starring Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, George Clooney plays Sinatra's part, Danny Ocean, this time just out of prison (in the tux he was wearing when he went in) with an idea about robbing three casinos of $150 million. The only problem is that the vault that holds all of their cash is "a security system that rivals that of most nuclear silos." But Danny figures if he can get a good team together and a bankroll for some equipment, he can make it work, Mission: Impossible-style. Danny connects with his former partner-in-crime Rusty (Brad Pitt), and they gather a team of men with various criminal talents.
Is it any good?
With enough genuine Hollywood star power to light all the neon signs in Nevada, this is a good old-fashioned, Hollywood heist film fun. Part of the pleasure of Ocean's Eleven is that we feel that we're listening in on real conversations, and find ourselves leaning forward as though each of us is in on the deal with them.
One problem, though, is that there are just too many goodies on screen. It's hard for us to adjust our expectations for star turns by the high-wattage cast (which includes Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, and Julia Roberts, to name just a few). There are so many stars that we don't get to spend enough time with any of them. Old-timers Elliott Gould and Carl Reiner are magnificent in small roles, and a couple of young TV stars drop by for a slyly hilarious cameo. And Brad Pitt turns in a performance of effortless charm, subtle and witty, completely in service to the character and the movie and yet completely movie star mesmerizing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why heist films like Ocean's Eleven are perennially popular. What is it that we enjoy so much about seeing a robbery? Is it the fantasy of instant millions? The fun of seeing how they solve the unsolvable logistical problems? Watching them respond on the spot to the unexpected?
How do the writer and director make us root for the crooks?
Which character did you like the most? Why?
For kids who love action
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