In Ocean’s 12, Topher Grace, playing himself, confesses, “I walked through that Dennis Quaid movie.” What a liar! As Carter Duryea, 26 — the new head of sales at Sports America magazine — Grace is bust-out funny and quietly affecting as the “ninja assassin” brought in by a conglomerate to push aside old-timer Dan Foreman (Quaid), a dinosaur at fifty-one. The T-rex now works for the kid. Carter is too psyched to care about Dan’s issues until he falls for Alex (the dazzling Scarlett Johanssen), Dan’s daughter, and they begin an affair the alleged ninja insists on keeping a secret from daddy.
Fresh comic thinking spices up this smart cookie of a satire from director-writer Paul Weitz (About a Boy). He makes it sexually provocative and subversively hilarious. All praise to Quaid as the blindsided honcho who is hit by another thunderbolt when his wife (Marg Helgenberger) declares she is pregnant with their third child. And if the domestic crises tend to play soft, the film does leave bite marks on a corporate culture that doesn’t see or care about the blood it’s spilling. Weitz does. He prowls the office looking at graying execs (David Paymer epitomizes the species with moving, uncanny precision) forming an uneasy, soul-scarring truce with the young god of synergy.t’s a tribute to Weitz’s humane approach that the film’s most resonant relationship is the one that develops between Carter and Dan. Linking the divide of youth and experience, they see a shaky bridge that just might be worth crossing.