Since shooting began in 2016, few films have been written off as quickly. The same furor that met the all-female Ghostbusters adaption also collided with this. For Ocean’s 8‘s part, the film is entertaining and hilarious, with much of the cast saving what’s an uneventful and predictable script until the final exhilarating heist scene.
The film centers around Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), recently released from jail with a score to settle against a treacherous ex-boyfriend (Richard Armitage), and a “tricky” heist to pull off. Bollock brings the same whit and charm as she does to any role, pairing well with Debbie’s strategic personality. Debbie enlists a motley crew of female associates.
Because “[women] are always ignored, for once [they] want to be ignored.”
The heist itself centers around the Toussiant, a $150 million dollar Cartier necklace. The plan is to steal it from Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) on the night of the MET gala. Hathaway as Kluger might be the second best component of the movie. If there’s one thing Ocean’s 8 can’t be faulted for, it’s casting.
Debbie’s main companion is Lou (Cate Blanchett). Blanchett is tailored made for the chill, yet biting, Lou. Both Lou and Debbie provide quirky and quick back-and-forth banter. They’re joined by Amita (Mindy Kaling), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), Constance (Awkwafina), Nine Ball (Rihanna), and Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter).
The cast mix-well together, as writer and director’s Gary Ross‘s writing is snappy and funny, yet their roles in the heist seem superfluous. For most of the film, Paulson’s Tammy is the odd one out. Though, Paulson is splendid as the stay-at-home mom who sells “fallen off the truck” items, she’s probably not necessary for the success of the heist. Much of her expertise appears to be mere grunt work.
And while each character performs their assignment perfectly, Rihanna and Bohnam Carter are particular highlights, a perfect plan does not always make a great film. The larger weakness of Ocean’s 8 is the lack of obstacles to the end goal. To my count, there was only an obstacle and a half. That is, there was little conflict within the story (outward or inward), giving the film a fait accompli appeal.
In any case, the heist is one that Debbie has planned for all five years that she’s spent in prison. Logically, if you plan for that long then things should go perfectly. But usually “the best laid plans of mice and [women]…,” should lead to some type of trouble, some type of “uh, oh” moment. Instead, we get a perfectly executed heist. And while the mechanization of how they pull off this act is appealing, I can’t help feeling that it would have been all the more interesting had the planning been more open. Instead, whenever something does go awry, it’s Debbie who swoops in to say that she’s already made a contingency in such cases.
Even later in the film, when an insurance investigator named John Frazier (James Corden) comes to ruin their party, he’s easily swept aside. Though we expect the hero to win, we don’t expect such gains to come so willingly.
And while the charisma of these 8 women are sufficient to make a film funny enough that we don’t leave the theater completely disappointed, it’s not enough to make Ocean’s 8 a film worth returning to. Instead, if you’re Ocean’s fan then it’s well-worth completing your collection (especially with amount of recall to Danny Ocean). But if you’re not, then you’ll most likely rent it, like it, and never think about it again.