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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

If Hollywood had an All-Star Game, it would be Ocean’s Eleven, the new multistar vehicle about a team of “good” con men who set out to rob $150 million from the oily owner of three Las Vegas casinos.

Just hours out of prison the scheme’s mastermind, Daniel Ocean (Clooney), begins assembling his crew. A card shark. A pickpocket. A techie. A demolitions expert. An acrobat. Each has a job to do. Their every move is calculated, rehearsed and executed with split-second precision. Logistical glitches keep the men improvising as they work to accomplish a specific goal. It would be a terrific illustration of 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 … that is if it wasn’t such a blatant violation of Exodus 20:15.

Once again, a motion picture justifies illegal and immoral behavior by making the law-breaking heroes more noble than the one getting scammed. Not only is their mark rich and ruthless, but he’s also dating Ocean’s ex-wife, Tess (Roberts). This romantic twist solidifies the viewer’s rooting interest, though it creates doubt in the minds of Daniel’s partners. Is he in it solely for the money, or is the heist part of a last-ditch attempt to win back Tess?

Apart from the film’s moral relativism, families will object to its use of an obscene gesture and about 30 profanities (including two f-words). Alcohol flows and gambling looks like harmless fun. There’s no sex per se, but viewers get glimpses of erotic dancers and a leaflet showing a woman covering her bare breasts.

This remake of the 1960 caper tale starring Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack” is very well done. But in addition to some problematic content, teens subtly manipulated into rooting for a bunch of greedy criminals may not realize that they’re the ones being conned.

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Bob Smithouser