I’m not sure if Ocean’s 8 is a sequel or spin-off of the George Clooney trilogy, but it seems to operate within the same universe, so why am I debating this? The bottom line is that this is a fairly competent but mostly recycled reboot of the original. Take it or leave it.
Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, sister of Clooney’s Danny, who has just been released from prison after a con went wrong. Once she’s released, she’s immediately back up to her old tricks and puts together a crew to plan an elaborate heist. Wait a minute. This seems strangely familiar. Oh, wait, that’s because it is. The formula and structure is very much reminiscent of Ocean’s Eleven, both the 1960 original and the 2001 Clooney remake. Never mind. Let’s press on.
Bullock collects a team that involves Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, and Helena Bonham Carter and together these ladies have the skill and expertise Bullock needs as she attempts to execute her plan. Instead of robbing three Las Vegas casinos like Clooney did, these ladies are going after jewelry at the Met Gala in New York. I would’ve figured an all-female reboot of this series would have higher and more original ambitions, but it could be worse.
Anne Hathaway costars as their target and while she’s not exactly the villain of the piece, she doesn’t do anything to warrant anything worth targeting either except sporting a $150 million necklace, so I guess she’s got that going for her.
As for the execution of the plot, it involves the standard complicated expository dialogue punctuated by one-liners that this time around aren’t that funny or memorable. Director/co-writer Gary Ross does his best to mimic Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy, but to less great effect.
Bullock, Blanchett, Hathaway and the others bring enough charm and charisma to their roles and it’s a pleasure to watch these talented, beautiful gals at work, but the material lets them down by not having anything really fresh or interesting for them to do. It doesn’t really justify its existence beyond attempting to milk a proverbial cash cow that didn’t need milking in the first place. It’s well-acted throughout and these women are certainly are having fun with their roles and that’s definitely a plus.
With the first three movies, we welcome the idea of running alongside Clooney and co. because each time the movies offered up something every time out. This time, it’s the audience that’s gonna get taken instead.