The best remake of the Rat Pack’s heist flick remains the SCTV
spoof starring Eugene Levy and Johnny Pulleyo’s Harmonica Gang, but this one starring George Clooney is pretty damn good. He plays Danny Ocean, newly released from prison and looking to pull a heist in Vegas. He puts together a crew of 11 and aims to knock over not one, but three casinos in one night during a Lennox Lewis boxing match. Clooney is one cool bastard here, and a dream cast that includes Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Carl Reiner surrounds him. Pitt is great as an ex-card shark relegated to teaching movie stars to look like they know what they’re doing during filmed card games. Carl Reiner and Elliot Gould enliven every scene they occupy. Director Stephen Soderbergh (last year’s Oscar winner) has a blast with the cast, and the film-ending caper manages to surprise. It’s nice to see a talented group like this coming together and just basically having a good time, much in the spirit of Frankie and Dino. Hopefully this will set a new standard, with good, high-caliber movie stars forgoing their usual hefty salaries to combine for quality entertainment miles above the standard blockbuster pooh … I won’t hold my breath.