Heist movies have a certain alikeness, so what happens when you make one with 8 talented women? Turns out….the exact same thing.
The movie opens with Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie (writers – siblings don’t have to have first name alliteration) getting out of prison where she’s spent the last five years rerunning the perfect crime in her her head. How? We never find out, and honestly that is extremely confusing to unpack with limited internet access in prison. Either way, Sandra Bullock is perhaps the most glamorous person ever leaving a prison.
She immediately delves back into a world of crime with a great scene of her getting “settled” back into the real world. She finds her best friend, Cate Blanchett as Lou, and immediately discloses her plan: stealing the $150 million 6-lb Cartier necklace that has its own security team. Debbie is all work and no play for the entirety of the film, while Lou is a bit more fun. They are both down to business but we get some comedic relief from the ensemble. Unfortunately with a cast this big, we don’t get to focus on individual personalities. Helena Bonham Carter as a Vivienne Westwood-type (her IRL icon) fashion designer Rose Weil was perfectly cast and portrayed. It’s the best I’ve seen her in years both in appearance and performance.
Ocean’s 8 saunters along checking off the mechanics of the heist, as any good caper would.The score is good, but the rhythm feels off, with some scenes going on forever and others being knocked out in one fell swoop. It takes a while to assemble the team, so other aspects of planning feel rushed. The movie takes a lot of liberties for everything to fall in place for this heist to work (see: entry level assistant job at Vogue miraculously filled by 43-year-old Sarah Paulson).
The Met Gala is a great recognizable setting for everything to go down, with glamour, high fashion, and bustle. The heist itself is satisfying, and the cameos at the Met Gala, from Anna Wintour to Serena Williams to Zac Posen to a flurry of Kardashians were really fun. After the heist, the movie tries to leave the blueprint, but wanes out significantly. James Corden is introduced as a second wind, a Colombo type insurance detective sent to find the necklace. The adrenaline is gone, but we find out what actually happened, *spoiler* it’s revenge. There are some twists and turns, which are cute, it could and should have just ended with the team of criminals riding off into the sunset. Overall, the movie fits well into the Ocean’s universe.
Going into Ocean’s 8, I was extremely hesitant of the gender-washing an all-male movie. I was skeptical it would be a redo of 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot which was one of the worst movies of 2016. You were sexist if you didn’t support it, but truth be told, it was terrible, and that had nothing to do with the gender aspect. In Hollywood, inequality between women, men, and non-binary folks runs rampant. It’s rare to have a female-centric movie that isn’t a rom com, and the pay gap is realer than real. How come when we do get female-centric movies, Hollywood just goes all in and swaps every main character for a women, giving it a real patronizing *girl power* feel. Women don’t need to remake male-centric movies to be successful. Hollywood needs to give more women filmmakers, producers, writers, and actresses the chance to stand alone with original stories and characters with gusto and a point of view.
What Ocean’s 8 gets right: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP AND WARDROBE. I spent far too long debating cutting bangs and buying a powder blue suit a la Cate Blanchett. Everyone looked great and Ocean’s 8 cast a diverse group of extremely talented women. There wasn’t time for them to all shine with such a large ensemble. Rihanna and Awkwafina (look out for her later this summer in Crazy Rich Asians) were grossly underused. Sarah Paulson was quirky, and Mindy Kaling was…Mindy Kaling. Overall great casting choices. James Corden provided a nice male addition.
What Ocean’s 8 gets wrong: Anne Hathaway’s mocking performance of herself got old quick. She’s kind of funny but mostly nauseating. Mission complete, I guess. The use of the ex-boyfriend and the revenge storyline was entirely unnecessary. It would have been nice to have a female caper movie that had no semblance of romance at all. A women doesn’t have to be wronged for her to be a badass. The movie is a bit too by the book, and the screenwriters could have afforded to take some more risks.
Overall: 7.5/10. This was great summer movie. All I look for in a summer movie is ENTERTAINMENT, and I got it. My heart beat faster through the heist, silly because its a movie and of course it works out, but it was fun. The twists were somewhat predictable, but I enjoyed myself and laughed a lot. I won’t remember this movie, just like I have no idea what happened in the male reboots, but it’s fun. Thanks Moviepass for letting me see any and every movie in theatres.