“Ocean’s 8”

LOUISA: 3 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

Everything about “Ocean’s 8” is average. An average story, average performances, and a movie that’s clearly made for the average moviegoing audience. Think of this film as a C student who lacks the motivation to try harder. Its mediocrity makes it just another forgettable entry in the canon of disposable early summertime entertainment.

Upon her release from prison, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), the estranged sister of legendary conman Danny Ocean, puts together a team of unstoppable crooks to pull of the heist of the century. Their goal is New York City’s annual Met Gala and a whopper of a diamond necklace worth more than $150 million, which will be worn around the neck of famous movie star and socialite Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). Debbie assembles a group of talented female scam artists, including bar owner Lou (Cate Blanchett) jewelry expert Amita (Mindy Kaling), petty thief and street hustler Constance (Awkwafina), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), washed-up fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), and big rig cargo thief Tammy (Sarah Paulson).

The chemistry between the actors is engaging and entertaining, and the all-female sequel works because its feminist slant never feels like a cheap gimmick. The cast is so crowded, however, that the film fails to create even one standout character. These are all appealing actresses but this movie still manages to makes them feel wasted. Bullock and Blanchett carry the story with their cool poise and even cooler outfits. If you’re already irritated by Hathaway (as I almost always am), this film serves up a generous helping of everything that makes her annoying. Her take on her self-absorbed diva character is by far the most unpleasant onscreen element.

Adding to the problem is that the big heist isn’t creative (and is so implausible that it becomes unintentionally funny), there’s zero conflict, and there’s not even a real villain in the story.

In a better year for movies, “Ocean’s 8” would rank towards the bottom of the stink heap. But here we are in June of 2018 and somehow this has emerged as one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in months. It’s a lighthearted, bland crime caper that is enjoyable enough to warrant a mild recommendation, especially if you’re seeking a lazy way to beat the summer heat.

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