[MOVIE REVIEW]Nice hook, lines, but a stinker

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[MOVIE REVIEW]Nice hook, lines, but a stinker

What would be the dream cast for a movie? There must be one or two attractive actors with charisma, another who makes a solid sidekick and, of course, there should be a comely leading lady.

Steven Soderbergh has done more than dream. The super-lucky director has brought together a group of the most sought-after Hollywood actors for a single film, "Ocean's Eleven," to be released Friday in Korea. George Clooney stars with his trademark bewitching grin, along with Brad Pitt, sporting stylish suits and always with something to eat in his hands, and Julia Roberts with her multimillion dollar smile. The mere presence of all these hot actors is enough to elicit oohs and ahs from viewers, as witnessed in a recent preview. Unfortunately, they do not guarantee the quality of the film.

The name Soderbergh brings to mind works of scintillating genius like "Sex, Lies and Videotape" (1989), or evocative human drama like "Erin Brockovich" (2000). His latest film, however, fails to measure up to these hits. What Soderbergh presents this time is a mouthwatering and delightful dessert instead of a wholesome meal. It does not carry any serious messages, merely providing a fun roller coaster ride of entertainment.

Clooney stars as Danny Ocean, a man who likes to live as if he has nothing to lose, who walks the walk and talks the talk. Fresh out of prison, Ocean already has another elaborate caper on his mind. Ocean soon assembles a squad of fellow criminals. Rusty (Pitt) is a magician and Ocean's No. 1 tactician. Linus (Matt Damon) is a pickpocket prodigy, Basher (Don Cheadle), a demolition virtuoso. With 11 companions in all, Ocean sets out on the most daring heist in history - to rob three Las Vegas casinos run by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Complicating things, Benedict happens to be dating Tess (Roberts), Ocean's ex-wife.

The script is full of witty and compelling dialogue, along with shrewd and fast-paced editing, making it a lot of fun. Soderbergh has created a livelier version than the original, which appeared in 1960 and starred Frank Sinatra. But except for Clooney and Pitt, most of these actors do not get a chance to shine. Roberts, who portrayed the tenacious go-getter Erin Brockovich, seems to be satisfied here just to be wearing glittering evening dresses and flashy jewelry.

"Ocean's Eleven" may be a dessert, but ultimately it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

by Chun Su-jin

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