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'Ocean's Thirteen' (***)

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Posted: Friday, June 15, 2007 10:00 pm

Given that the third entry in a series of films is usually the weakest link - a tradition that has continued in full force over the course of this summer movie season - "Ocean's Thirteen" should be seen as a success if for no other reason than its clear improvement over its most recent predecessor. It's not as tightly plotted or clever as "Ocean's Eleven" (not many heist flicks are), but it's most definitely a return to form for filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and his all-star cast after the narcissistic, self-congratulatory claptrap that was "Ocean's Twelve."

It appears that Soderbergh and company heeded the advice they received from disappointed audiences and critics after that little debacle, and as a result this third outing has everything viewers could want from a genre piece such as this: snazzy dialogue, complex scams and an air of sophistication that is engaging without coming across as smug. It may not be the most original movie out there, but it achieves what it sets out to do, and it accomplishes its goals with the smoothness and thoroughness of a well-oiled Hollywood machine.

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