A heist movie isn't any good if it leaves viewers feeling as if they've been had.
Despite a great setting and a constellation of stars, Ocean's 8 has neither the adrenaline nor the wit a caper film needs. (I'm sure some executive will probably blame the female cast instead of the men who put them in such a rickety getaway vehicle.)
78 Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, James Corden, Richard Armitage, Marlo Thomas, Elizabeth Ashley
Director: Gary Ross
Rating: PG-13, for language, drug use, and some suggestive content
Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Co-writer-director Gary Ross has several decent credits (writing Big, directing and writing Pleasantville and Seabiscuit), but he lacks the irreverent tone and agile pacing Steven Soderbergh brought to his Ocean's 11 trilogy and the more recent Logan Lucky. Ross spends so much time assembling the gang for his crime he has to rush the heist.
As least he and co-writer Olivia Milch have picked the perfect location for grand larceny. New York's annual Met Gala on the first Monday of every May is loaded with the rich and famous reminding everyone else that they are rich and famous.
The gang in this film think that a few celebrities like Kim Kardashian West -- who can be spotted briefly in the film -- might not notice if a little bling has disappeared despite intense security.
Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has spent her last few years in the slammer thinking of how to separate at least one tycoon from a set of precious stones. Actually, once she's paroled, she plans to get Cartier's to loan a 6-pound diamond necklace to an insecure starlet named Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) so that Debbie can remove the stones and sell them on the black market.
Debbie is the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney in the Soderbergh films) and has her sibling's gift for grift. What she lacks is a team to pull it off.
After initially brushing the scheme off, Debbie's old pal Lou (Cate Blanchett) helps recruit a cash-strapped designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a hacker (Rihanna), pickpocket (Awkwafina), an apprentice jeweler (Mindy Kaling) and a hoarder (Sarah Paulson) who used to be Debbie's partner-in-crime.
Co-writer Ross started off in comedy, and he and writer Milch can throw out a bon mot or two. The problem is that they make viewers wait for the next one. They also throw in subplots that slow the film down so much that it's a wonder the authorities don't catch these women in the act. New York's Finest appear to be operating on sedatives here.
As with a lot of caper films starring guys, the love interest seems like a needless accessory. Claude (Richard Armitage) woos Debbie and Daphne, but all that registers about this crooked art dealer is that he has a fraction of the personality of either woman. It's difficult to see why Debbie or Daphne would spend any time with a fellow who practically wears an "I'm a Treacherous Cad" T-shirt under his designer wardrobe.
Bullock and Blanchett play off each other nicely, and Bonham Carter, Paulson and Awkwafina have their moments. Perhaps having a woman behind the camera as well as in front might have helped. One wonders what an assured stylist like Sofia Coppola might have done with this material. With such a photogenic event like the Met Gala, she might have at least made a more visually arresting movie.
MovieStyle on 06/08/2018
Print Headline: Ocean's 8