A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's nothing much different here than in the two previous Ocean's movies. Expect some language ("s--t" and "son of a bitch" are as bad as it gets), occasional scenes with drinking and cigar smoking, brief images of generalized violence (protesting workers clash with police and toss Molotov cocktails that set a car on fire; a mild earthquake shakes a hotel), and a seduction scene (aided by pheromone-spiked cologne) that includes heavy breathing, some clutching, and cleavage. As always, the "heroes" are handsome, charming criminals out to rob a less-sympathetic criminal.
What's the story?
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his boys are back, staging another magnificently planned, brilliantly executed scheme to get even with an adversary and steal loads of money. In OCEAN'S THIRTEEN, the heist is motivated by revenge, when one of their own (Elliott Gould's Reuben) is cheated out of his money by the exceptionally smug and obnoxious Willie Bank (Al Pacino). Faster than you can say "Vegas," the gang rallies to make sure the villain learns a lesson. The basic plot is very similar to those of the first two movies (Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve): The gang gathers to consult, calls in an expert (in this case, tech master Roman (Eddie Izzard), then arranges an exceedingly elaborate con. This time the target is Bank's brand-new, very fancy hotel and casino, The Bank. Not only will the fellas steal his money, but they'll also bust his ego by ruining his chances for winning the Royal Review Board's Five Diamond Award, which he's snagged for all of his other hotels.
Is it any good?
The easy camaraderie among the major players remains the most predictably entertaining aspect of the film. That's particularly true of Danny's relationship with Rusty (Brad Pitt), which refers in-jokingly to the actors' famous friendship. (A couple of times, the film drops you into their conversation midway, without back-story or explanation, so that punch-lines seem both unknowable and strangely satisfying, as in Rusty's apparently clever rejoinder: "I said, 'What do I look like, a pancake eater?'"). Other relationships are less enjoyable. Since Linus (Matt Damon) is working through rather conventional "issues" with his father (an old-school con man), he offers to be the designated seducer of Willie's "right hand man," who's actually a woman -- Abigail Spooner (Ellen Barkin). With Danny's wife, Tess (Julia Roberts), absent for this outing, Spooner is the designated girl, and, unfortunately, she seems quite desperate -- both to please her boss and to find sensual pleasure with "younger men" -- making her look more foolish than smart. Similarly, the film makes raucous fun of a hotel reviewer (David Paymer), who the schemers abuse mercilessly with rashes, tainted food, and more.
Each conniver gets a moment in the spotlight, as per formula: Frank (Bernie Mac) runs a dominos table, Basher (Don Cheadle) swaggers as an Evel Knievel-style motorcycle stunt rider, and the moral-minded Malloy brothers (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan) encourage a workers' demonstration in Mexico before ensuring the manufacture of trick dominos for Frank's game. By the time the crew enlists the help of former foe Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the 122-minute running time is wearing thin, which makes the big climax a little less exciting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes these con men so appealing. Does it help that their adversaries are always so awful? And what makes the bad guys seem bad, anyway? What parts of the movie are references to the era of the Rat Pack's original Ocean's Eleven? Do you think this movie romanticizes that time period/style? How does this movie compare to its two predecessors? Do you think there should be any more Ocean's movies?
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