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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ocean's 8 Movie Review

Ocean's 8 Movie Review
Cast Shines Bright Like a Diamond

You've seen "Ocean's 8" already. Hell, you've seen it about four times already. Director Gary Ross takes on the "Ocean's" universe (how many movies does one series need to qualify as a universe?) and offers a pleasurable diversion from the tornado of blockbusters clogging up the multiplexes.

On the cusp of being released from prison after a five-year stint, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is pleading for a normal life on the outside. She wants to rehabilitate herself by doing mundane things like going to work and paying her bills. But that's all nonsense. Debbie is an Ocean (the sister of the recently deceased Danny) and doesn't know how to do normal. Before even leaving the jail, she is setting up a score with one of the prison guards.

Debbie doesn't waste much time meeting up with her old partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), who is a good friend and a perfect voice of reason to Debbie's wildly ambitious plan, cooked up while she was in prison. She proposes the idea of stealing a Cartier necklace, valued at $150 million, from the upcoming MET Gala held annually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hours out of prison and already on to her next score, Lou asks, "Why do you need to do this?"

So, the movie quickly sets up Debbie's team: Amita (Mindy Kaling), a jewler, Tammy (Sarah Paulson), who's trying to live a quiet suburban life, Nine Ball (Rihanna), a skilled hacker, and Constance (Awkwafina), who can lift a watch off someone's wrist without batting an eye. They court fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) and convince her to dress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who will wear the targeted necklace.

You are going to buy a ticket for "Ocean's 8" to spend time with this flawless cast, and you will stick around to keep spending time with these actresses. Bullock leads the pack with ease and confidence and her partnership with Blanchett oozes an effortless cool. Everyone plays their roles just fine (with Kaling not really having much to do) but watching them work as a team is the film's true joy. Hathaway relishes portraying the vainglorious Daphne, chewing up every moment to play it big. It's a complete blast to see her play so big and obnoxious.

Like Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11," "Ocean's 8" has fun watching the plan come together. The skill and meticulousness of the heist is entertaining, if a bit too easy, for this team to pull off. There has never been a real sense of menace to the "Ocean's" films because things always seem to work out a bit too conveniently for the titular characters. Debbie is usually five steps ahead of her opponents, so the stakes often feel rather low.

Ross has essentially crafted a twice-copied movie and somehow it turns out in one piece. "Ocean's 8," like those before it, are about the glitz and gloss, and setting the heist at the MET Gala provides plenty of that. While the movie feels a bit thin and features a coda with James Corden that could have been condensed, the cast continues to keep you with them. It's hard to not have fun when some of our finest performers are doing just that before us.

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