Flaws can’t drag down hopped-up ‘Ocean’s 8’


The job is simple: get in, get the jewelry and get out.

If life could be so straightforward.

Sometimes, when the mission is retrieving a $150 million diamond necklace, a couple of bodyguards, security cameras, reporters and celebrities could get in the way, especially at the Met Gala. A team of genius and seasoned criminals, though, is all you need to secure that shiny object.

Ocean’s 8
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 110 min.
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway

What we get is a fun centerpiece of awesome women who give little burglars everywhere someone to look up to, despite the large amount of suspended disbelief.

Directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville, The Hunger Games), Ocean’s 8 stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Rihanna.

It’s been eleven years since Ocean’s Thirteen, the last entry in the Ocean’s franchise. With this newest entry, Ocean’s 8 only brings back Bullock out of the whole original Steven Soderberg-directed cast.

After her brother’s death, and her own release from prison, Debbie Ocean (Bullock) seeks to continue her robbery escapades. This time, she wants to make her dead, estranged brother proud by pulling off the heist of the century: infiltrating the star-studded Met Gala in New York and swiping a valuable necklace.

With a big job comes big help, so she brings aboard a handful of talented women, each with their own unique quirks that make their position in the heist fun and empowering.

The Ocean’s franchise will forever be remembered for being suave and grand with the casts they’ve assembled. Ocean’s 8 is no different. Sadly, though, in today’s climate, having a mostly female-led cast is different. This should have changed long ago, but it hasn’t, though this cast grips viewers with charisma blown through the roof.

I was worried not everyone would have sufficient screen time to show off their characters, or at least to get to know them. All eight of our heroines — yes, they are still thieves — get their two cents in the movie, but nobody really develops. Ocean has one goal on her mind when she gets out of jail and by the end, she feels the same way.

If there were characters with some sort of growth, they would be Kaling’s Amita, Bonham Carter’s Rose Weil, and Hathaway’s Daphne Kluger. Still, it’s only a small bump of character evolution.

Ocean’s 8 is about a comradery of characters that try to attempt the impossible. This is what I expected going in, and it’s what I got.

It’s the heist that we go to see in these types of films. Ross, along with screenwriter Olivia Milch, wrote these characters for the audience to praise them as lawbreakers; the writers make them as close to divine as possible.

It’s fun to see this; protagonists who can do almost anything, like permeate a closed-off and heavily-guarded party. To follow along, I’d suggest detaching yourself from the real world.

Relieving your mind from most things plausible has been a major component of the Ocean’s series. With Ocean’s 8, you need to check out in minute one. But at some point, you must think, ‘Wouldn’t they have gotten caught a while ago?’ or ‘This doesn’t make any sense.’

For example, Paulson’s Tammy is a mom retired from her criminal life. She lives in seemingly perfect suburbia but in her garage, she hides her stolen loot. When Ocean asks what her excuse is when Tammy’s husband asks about the products, Tammy responds with ‘eBay.’

Really? That’s the best you can come up with?

The truth clearly isn’t a priority in Ocean’s 8. But when has this ever affected mindless fun? Never. If I can have some sort of fun with a couple of Michael Bay films, I can have fun with any other movie.

Ocean’s 8 is highlighted by a cast that bounces off each other like a kid hopped up on sugar. It’s soothing to know women on and off the screen are making their marks. Again, it frustrates me to have to say this in 2018, but it needs to happen now.

Flaws come with every film but these strong women got me in the feels, engaging me in their exciting if not implausible scheme. I’ll keep watch for the next adventures of Debbie Ocean and her squad, wherever that may be, particularly if Blanchett reprises her role. I would happily pay $12 to watch her eat a bagel for 20 minutes.

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