Main cast: Sandra Bullock (Debbie Ocean), Cate Blanchett (Lou), Anne Hathaway (Daphne Kluger), Mindy Kaling (Amita), Sarah Paulson (Tammy), Awkwafina (Constance), Rihanna (Nine Ball), Helena Bonham Carter (Rose Weil), Richard Armitage (Claude Becker), and James Corden (John Frazier)
Director: Gary Ross
Ocean’s 8 isn’t a reboot or a sequel as much as it is a spin-off: Debbie Ocean, the heist ringleader here, is Danny’s sister. They even use George Clooney’s picture here to link this movie to the previous remake, so comparisons of this movie to the recent Ghostbusters are rather unfair if you ask me. Sure, the ladies are in charge here, but the movie still makes an effort to be part of the canon instead of just throwing dynamites into established lore just to go WOOOO GIRL POWER. Unfortunately, this movie is so bland that it isn’t going to stick in my mind for long after the credits have finished rolling.
Debbie spent about five years in prison after her then-boyfriend, gallery owner Claude Becker, snitched on and testified against her when the two of them were caught doing shady dealings with the artworks in his gallery. Now that she is out, she wastes little time contacting Lou, her long-time partner-in-crime, to carry out a plan that she has been cooking in her head all this while. The plan isn’t just to steal something – they will set in motions events that will allow them to basically walk in and steal some bling-bling instead.
You see, the Met Gala is just around the corner, and the theme is old-time European royalty, which means plenty of diamonds will be on display. Debbie has her eye on the Toussaint, a diamond necklace worth about 150 million dollars. The thing is, the folks at Cartier have kept the Toussaint in a vault all this while, never being displayed or anything. So, what she and Lou will do is to engineer things so that the necklace will be worn during the Met Gala.
To do this, they contact bankrupt and loopy designer Rose Weil, who is willing to help if her share of the reward would allow her to shake off the IRS, and set up some photo shoots to get the tabloids speculating that Rose may be creating a dress for the hot and trendy Penelope Stern. This leads to their real target, the vapid actress Daphne Kluger, becoming intrigued by and eventually hires Rose to design her Met Gala gown. With Daphne being unwittingly on board, the stage is set to convince Cartier on the value of allowing the Toussaint to be displayed for the first time on the “ample bosom” of a current in-demand actress during the event of the year.
Debbie and Lou also rope in Amita (an old friend who is good at evaluating and cutting diamonds), Tammy (another old friend who currently fences stolen goods as a side hobby when being a suburban housewife gets to much of a drag), the hacker Nine Ball, and the pickpocket Constance. So, will they manage to pull this heist off?
The ladies are all solid in their roles. Sandra Bullock predictably enough manages to inject some vulnerability in Debbie to make that character more human, while Cate Blanchett does a good job in playing the concerned best friend, a normally reckless type who actually plays the sensible foil to Debbie of all things. The rest of the cast is sort of just there, but the ladies do their best to make the most out of their roles, even if you can argue that Rihanna is just playing her pop princess persona once again here. Stealing the show, however, is Anne Hathaway. Her character is the most hilarious and memorable here, as Ms Hathaway injects her role with just the right amount of bitchiness and vapidity without becoming over the top.
Unfortunately, the script is just bland. There are hardly any memorable scenes or dialogues here, and the movie begins to drag shortly after its first half hour. A big reason for this, I feel, is that much of the movie seems to be mere reenactments of greater fun things I have seen in previous heist movies. Even the obligatory twist here can be seen coming from a mile away. Worse, nothing really goes wrong or poses a challenge for the ladies, which only makes an already dull movie even more boring due to the lack of suspense. Therefore, Ocean’s 8 feels more like an assembly effort that just unimaginatively regurgitates tropes from other heist movies.
At the end of the day, this one hovers somewhere between the two- and three-oogie territory. It’s not a terrible movie, just a terribly boring one. Still, there is something tragic about the movie that has this much star power only to squander all potential, hence I’m going to go with two oogies. Ocean’s 8 could have been better, so much better.