When cooking a souffl, the idea is to keep something so delicate from collapsing in on itself. Even some top-notch cooks can’t pull it off. So let’s take a moment to acknowledge that yes, Steven Soderbergh most certainly can keep the celluloid equivalent of a puff pastry—say, a celebrity-filled caper so light as to be insubstantial—from turning into a pancake. The director understands that these Ocean movies are all about famous faces lounging around Vegas or Venice, flashing million-dollar smiles and laying on the charm. He’s not about to change the recipe in this third chapter of the revisionist Rat Pack franchise. It’s another dessert film, and pity the Cineplex gourmand who still shows up expecting a meal.
Like the previous installments, Ocean’s Thirteen hinges on the belief that, with all the photogenic pusses on display, no one will care if the whole thing is utterly ridiculous. Sure, the premise revolves around the gang taking revenge on a megalomaniac casino magnate (Pacino) for putting their resident alter kocker, Reuben (Gould), in the hospital. (The sight of Michael Corleone threatening California Split’s lovable deadbeat gambler is something out of a parallel cinematic universe that I want to live in.) But the story is an excuse for the real point of this threequel: goofy throwaway gags, George Clooney reminding you that he’s George Clooney and David Holmes’s impeccable retro-chic score. You get what you came for, namely the usual suspects breezily hamming it up and a lot of forgettable banter going down incredibly easily. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — David Fear