Ocean’s 8 Movie Review
Piggy backing off Steven Soderbergh’s cool comedic caper, OCEAN’S ELEVEN, who subsequently was remaking/improving an old rat pack movie, OCEAN’S 8 is a sequel of sorts (after OCEAN’S TWELVE and THIRTEEN) that follows a group of women, eight to be exact, pulling off a clever, yet far less interesting heist.
Much like Danny in 2001’s OCEAN’S ELEVEN, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is getting out of prison. In case you were unaware, Debbie Ocean is the sister of Danny Ocean, we know this because the film unnecessarily takes every opportunity to cram that information down our throats. Much like Clooney had Pitt, Debbie joins forces with an equally as cool right hand woman, Lou (Cate Blanchett). The two quickly assemble a crew (Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina) to steal the most expensive diamond necklace in the world while it’s sitting around the neck of a celebrity (Anne Hathaway) during the Met Gala.
I’m a huge fan of the heist genre, but more specifically, I’m a huge fan of OCEAN’S ELEVEN. I apologize for mentioning the film so often, but that comparison is the main problem of OCEAN’S 8. Rather than make the film his own, director Gary Ross (FREE STATE OF JONES, THE HUNGER GAMES) who co-wrote the film with Olivia Milch, is doing his best imitation of the film’s predecessors. While OCEAN’S 8 introduces Debbie Ocean in a humorous, character building fashion, the film quickly loses all momentum and dynamic as it rushes through the rest of the group without any captivating personality or humor. The musical cues and playful transitions don’t flow with the same ease as the film staggers it’ way through an Ocean’’s movie checklist.
As a stand alone film, OCEAN’S 8 is perhaps passable, but when comparing it to writer and director Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean films, it pales beyond recognition. Most people think of the massive star-studded cast when speaking about any Ocean’s film. Here is no different. The ladies of OCEAN’S 8 are a behemoth of talent. I applaud all of the casting choices. That is clearly not where the film fails. Likewise, do I not think that OCEAN’S ELEVEN’s success comes completely from the talented male cast. No, this is the product of Soderbergh vs. Ross. Unfortunately, OCEAN’S EIGHT lacks the humor, wit and overall energy level of coolness, leaving its talented cast with nothing to do.
Poor Cate Blanchett, who I consider one of our greatest actors living today, is mostly standing on the sidelines looking wonderful serving up Sandra Bullock with lame, tame dialogue. It’s almost offensive to squander such talent. That goes for everyone who all do a terrific job with what they have but are never fully given the opportunity to do so much more.
OCEAN’S 8 is like a copy of a copy. It just doesn’t have the clean edges and defined qualities of the original. While the heist itself is a decent and dare I say slightly fun unfolding of events, it’s nothing memorable. There are some cute cameos, but no one has a standout scene or an overtly funny line. Yes, I suspect OCEAN’S 8 will mildly satisfy some viewers, if nothing else than to see a great cast on screen pulling off a little rope-a-dope, but I expect much more when you have so much talent and opportunity involved.