I had the incredible misfortune of being stuck with this remarkable turkey of a movie on an Air India flight back to Los Angeles from Frankfurt. What is perhaps more remarkable than the fact that the writing is so phenomenally poor is that the movie has so many stars, young and old. It is entirely understandable why Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon would want to make this jerk-off movie. They have rather grand lifestyles to sustain. It is impossible to understand why fine actors with fine legacies–like Al Pacino, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould–would voluntarily elect to participate in such a pathetic excuse for product placement.
This movie is nothing but one long commercial for Las Vegas, cell phones, Oprah Winfrey and Maxim magazine. The plot is not just stupid. It is insulting. Everyone is willing to suspend disbelief at the movies, but how can anyone believe that it is possible to obtain a subway tunneling drill in order to simulate a magnitude 4 earthquake on the Vegas strip and still have a profitable heist? Even if one were to believe that the earth moving equipment could somehow be secreted underground or even usurped from the controls of city workers, how on earth could an operation like this veer off course for weeks without anyone’s notice? And, why the hell could they evade attention when they caused countless other earthquakes along the way?
None of this is as stupid as gimmicks like “magnetrons” and artificial intelligence clusters that evaluate the legitimacy of big casino payouts by performing biometrics on the winners–in real time.
I did not suffer this bomb nearly as much as people who paid money to see it in movie theaters. I donned my headphones only when I could not sleep on and after my computer’s and my iPod’s batteries had expired. This movie movie was so bad that I was tempted to exit the airborne theater, nevertheless.
Steve Soderbergh has made many great movies in his time, such as Schizopolis, Solaris, Good Night and Good Luck, to name a few of many. Almost all of them have been quite profitable (and cast with George Clooney). It is awfully puzzling, then, why he would choose to work with this remarkably childish script. A six-year-old could probably not sit through this incredibly shallow and poorly veiled commercial.
Soderbergh needs neither the money nor the publicity. Why do people make these movies?