The Italian Job
The Italian Job reminded me so much of Ocean's Eleven, it's almost criminal. Both are remakes of films from the 1960's, both are heist films, and both films center around a group of cleverly nicknamed experts who make the heist happen . For godsakes, both films have an African-American actor playing the explosives expert! Ah, but is The Italian Job as good as Ocean's Eleven? That's the money question.
The Italian Job is clearly cashing in on the success of the "caper film" genre employing all the essential elements: snappy dialogue, plot twists, nicknames, etc. But there really isn't anything about The Italian Job that will make it memorable in the long term. It's a quintessential summer movie: light, fun, and forgettable.
The actors do exactly what they're supposed to do and nothing more. Charlize Theron is predictably spunky, Mark Wahlberg tries really hard to look smart (ala Truth About Charlie), and Edward Norton pretty much phoned this one in. Seth Green has some amusing bits as the computer expert/ real inventor of Napster ("he named it Napster because he stole my project while I was napping!"). Jason Statham basically reprises his Guy Ritchie roles, and Donald Sutherland is barely in the film at all. Mos Def gives a worthwhile performance, but you have to wonder why he's stuck as the second string Don Cheadle.
Together, this group of experts pull off a heist in Venice. They drive to a remote location to split up the taking, when suddenly they are surrounded. It seems one member of the group has double-crossed everyone else. He makes off with all the cash, and the rest of the film is spent trying to recover it.
The real star of this film is a little remake of its own called the Mini Cooper. Some may watch the film and say, "I just watched a 104 minute commercial. This movie was just another one of those BWM films, only without Clive Owen." On the other hand, they really make the most of these little cars and it's really fun to see them in action.
If it's a hot summer day and you're looking for two hours of entertainment, you can't go wrong with The Italian Job. The acting is suitable, there aren't any slow spots in the story and there's a cool chase scene involving the Mini Coopers. It's no Ocean's Eleven, but if you don't go in with high expectations, you won't be let down.