Making the Grades
A sequel to the very popular 2001 hit, Ocean's Eleven, this movie is making an obvious ploy to steal its predecessor's nearly half-billion dollar worldwide box-office take by anteing up even more star power. George Clooney is back in his role as Danny Ocean along with Mrs. Ocean, played by Julia Roberts. The couple was having some difficulties in the first film, but has since settled down in a nice home to enjoy Danny's "retirement."
But the habitual thief confides he's still hooked on crime: "I go into some place and all I can see is the angles. I can't help myself." His light-fingered fascination is increased when Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) discovers Ocean's new address. (In case you missed the first installment, Benedict was the owner of the casino Ocean and his crew burglarized three years earlier.) Although the Vegas tycoon has already received insurance payments to cover his loss, his vengeful side wants to play for double or nothing. Sending his "boys" out to pay visits to the eleven robbers, he demands they pay back the $160 million in loot, or he'll turn them in to the authorities.
Gathering the gang together for a brainstorming session, it quickly becomes apparent a payback scheme isn't possible. Some of the group has already spent nearly everything, and those who haven't aren't willing to part with what they have. The only solution, from their perspective, is to begin stealing again.
The "rob Peter to pay Paul" plan entails trips to scenic locales, including Amsterdam, France, and Italy. Moving from job to job, the group discovers that Benedict isn't the only person who is seeking Ocean's crew. Eventually, the group is forced to engage in a game of one-upmanship to prove they are the world's greatest thieves--or risk losing everything.
Sometimes a party can be so much fun, you forget that what you're doing isn't exactly ethical, or (as in this case) downright illegal. That's the precise situation parents will need to consider before giving the green light to older children wanting to see Oceans Twelve. This is undoubtedly a "fun" film, thanks to a cast that appears to be having a great time. Well written and technically crafted, teens (and adults) will enjoy the humor interspersed with engaging moments of tension, along with a couple of surprise cameos.
It's lighter on sexual content than Ocean's Eleven, and has little on-screen violence--however language is still an issue. In one scene, two men are obviously using a sexual expletive repeatedly, but it's "bleeped" out for comedic effect--and to keep a PG-13 rating. Later, the infamous expletive is heard again amidst the wide range of other profanities sprinkled throughout the script.
But even more concerning than language, this film is a simplistic and attractive glamorization of a life of crime. Our "heroes" may be skilled (and entertaining), but they are still crooks. At one point a character says to another, "You're being awfully cavalier with a lot of people's lives so you can play out a game." It's unfortunate that sentence isn't given more weight, as these sanitized scenarios of grand theft, intermingled with fun camaraderie and exotic locations, do nothing to illustrate the real life consequences for trying these same tricks at the store down your street.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Ocean’s Twelve.
This movie (and many others) portrays robbery as not really harming anyone. Even though no one is shot or physically injured, what are the true costs of this crime? Is “polite” robbery okay? In reality, is it usually possible to steal large sums of money or valuables without putting people’s lives at risk?
Lately, several high profile people have made the news after it’s been revealed they have stolen money using non-violent methods. Do you think fictional movies and television shows have had any affect on the public’s perception of such non-violent crimes?