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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 12 is a 2004 all-star heist movie in which a group of skilled thieves must pull off the heists of their lives in order to pay back a huge debt. There's some action-movie violence: an exploding car, vehicle chase scenes. Occasional profanity is heard, including "f--k." Two characters cursing in a recording studio have their curse words bleeped out by the well-timed bleeps of the song they are trying to record. One of the thieves is never shown without a cigar in his mouth. Some drinking occurs, including two scenes in which the characters act drunk.
What's the story?
OCEAN'S TWELVE kicks off with a brisk update on what has been going on with each of the 11 who robbed three Las Vegas casinos in the first film. The man they robbed, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), has tracked them all down, from Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his wife, Tess (Julia Roberts), on down to the bickering Molloy brothers (Scott Caan and Casey Affleck). And he gives them two weeks to pay it all back, with interest. That means it's time to go back to work. They pull off a quick heist in Amsterdam, but it turns out to be the first step in a much larger job, the usual irreplaceable treasure in the usual impenetrable setting. There is a complication, too: They are competing with the most successful thief in the world, a fabulously wealthy and remarkably agile Frenchman with a title who has a personal reason for making sure they are not successful. There is another complication as well. Rusty (Brad Pitt) has a romantic entanglement with Isabel (Catherine Zeta Jones), an Interpol agent whose job is catching thieves.
Is it any good?
The problem with this sequel is that it counts too much on having us on the side of the thieves because of the first film and just because we love the performers. But it works against our loyalty by violating the first rule of heist movies in that the resolution is not entirely satisfying. The motivation of one of the key characters is just silly, and the twists are telegraphed in advance. While Ocean's Eleven had great characters and a very clever plot with a heist that had you saying "Oh, THAT'S how they did it" on the way back to your car, this one has great characters and a thin plot that gets stretched even thinner.
But the sly byplay from the returning players is enjoyable, there's a witty cameo by Topher Grace, and Eddie Izzard and Robbie Coltrane are a pleasure, as always, in small roles. Catherine Zeta-Jones and some surprise new additions are fine, but it's our old friends who, true to form, well, steal the show, with dialogue as cool and contrapuntal as a jazz riff.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about action movies. How does this movie compare to other action films you've seen?
The term "meta" means "referring to itself or the conventions of its genre, self-referential." How was this movie "meta" in terms of the Julia Roberts character and the cameo appearance of Bruce Willis?
What would the challenges be in bringing so many different characters to life in a movie like this, and making them stand apart from each other?