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Ocean’s 8 (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Ocean’s 8


Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, James Corden, Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis, Elliott Gould, Griffin Dunne, Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey, Mary Louise Wilson, Elizabeth Ashley, Hailey Baldwin, Katie Holmes, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Jaime King, Olivia Munn, Alexander Wang, Eric West and Anna Wintour.

Screenplay by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch.

Directed by Gary Ross.

Distributed by Warner Bros. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Continuing the list of revivals of series that no one really missed, here comes an all-female reboot of the Ocean’s 11 movies. Now, no one really bothered to even watch Ocean’s 12 and especially Ocean’s 13. Plus, it’s been probably at least a decade since anyone spared a thought for the admittedly rather entertaining original 2001 film – which was itself a reboot of a classic 1960 Rat Pack movie with Frank Sinatra and his pals knocking off a Vegas Casino.

The original rebooted version of Ocean’s 11 was an inconsequential but fun update of the Rat Pack credo. It was a good-natured caper featuring some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck and more.

The first thing you notice about the new-fangled female-centric Ocean’s adventure is that the star power is a lot more earthbound. Only three of the stars could be called A-list actresses: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway. (And arguably, Bullock and Hathaway’s careers are on the downswing.) And hell, Hathaway isn’t even really a part of the heist; she is the mark.

As far as the rest of the cast, Rihanna is a huge star as a singer, but she does not exactly have an impressive resume in acting. Sarah Paulson and Helena Bonham Carter are both well-respected actresses, but neither is exactly a huge name. Mindy Kaling is a marginally amusing comedienne and comic actress, but again not exactly on the level of say Bernie Mac in the original. And lord only knows who Awkwafina is, other than the fact that she has the WORST. STAGE. NAME. EVER!

Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, who is supposedly the younger sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean – though she was never mentioned in the original trilogy. She has just spent five years in jail for a scam in which she was double-crossed by her partner, a now-famous artist named Claude Becker (Richard Armitage). She has finally gotten parole, and instead of going straight she gets a gang together to try to live out her dream scam – knocking off the Metropolitan Museum Gala in New York and framing Becker for the theft.

It’s hard to not notice that Debbie and her friends are running some pretty pathetic little cons: scamming free cosmetics and hotel rooms, over-watering vodka bottles, playing three-card Monty, tax fraud, selling stolen items on eBay.

Is this the super criminal enterprise which is supposed to be getting a $150,000,000 necklace out of Cartier’s vault for the first time in 50 years, and stealing it in a crowded, high-security party in the middle of a museum which has cameras and guards everywhere?

Apparently. Because… reasons.

Actually, it is rather shocking how easily the pieces are supposed to fall exactly into place for the silly plan that they come up with, a completely convoluted and hugely time-intensive and labor intensive set-up that mostly seems to come down to dumb luck. I can think of at least a dozen plot points in the film which have no reason to have succeeded other than the fact that the screenwriters needed them to work.

Also, whether the gang gets away with it all or not pretty much hinges on one person acting completely out of character for no particular reason.

And I won’t let on the spoiler, but even the title of the film pretty much gives away one of the biggest surprise reveals of the movie.

On the plus side, Hathaway is terrifically funny in her role playing a vapid Hollywood glamazon. And Cate Blanchett is her normal terrific self as Ocean’s longtime partner (in crime, and there are also hints their relationship is more personal).

Are they worth sitting through Ocean’s 8 for? Probably not. At least we can feel pretty safe in assuming there will not be an Ocean’s 9.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2018 All rights reserved. Posted: June 8, 2018.


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