George Clooney is one, Brad Pitt is two, Matt Damon three... well, let's just assume there are 13 collaborators in this installment of Steven Soderbergh's profitable caper franchise. We're back in Las Vegas for Ocean's Thirteen, where the boys plot to shut down the brand-new venture of a backstabbing hotelier (Al Pacino) because the guy double-crossed the now-ailing Reuben (Elliott Gould). If you look at the plot too closely, the entire edifice collapses (hey, how about those Chunnel-digging giant drills?), but Soderbergh conjures up a visual style that swings like Bobby Darin at the Copa. Other than the movie-star dazzle, the main reason to see the film is Soderbergh's uncanny feel for how the widescreen frame can float through the neon spaces of Vegas or sort through groups of characters sitting in hotel rooms talking (he shot the film himself, under his pseudonym Peter Andrews).
The film doesn't give enough time to goofballs Casey Affleck and Scott Caan (whose riffs made Ocean's Twelve worth seeing), although it provides comic stuff for a fun roster of actors, including Eddie Izzard, David Paymer, and Bob ("Super Dave") Einstein. Meanwhile, Ellen Barkin makes a fetching assistant for Pacino, and Pacino himself, his hair dyed Trumpian orange, is content to gnaw on some ham for the duration. Biggest puzzle about the two sequels is why George Clooney seems content to retreat from centerstage. Still, his Hemingwayesque conversations with Pitt are an amusing form of male shorthand, and even as the movie overstays its welcome during a long finale, Clooney's easy sense of cool makes it all seem acceptable. --Robert Horton