McCoy on Movies: Oceans 8

McCoy on Movies: Oceans 8

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Oceans 8 features a star-studded female cast, but did the stars align for a box office hit? See what our movie critic has to say.



KEY CAST MEMBERS: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkafina, Sarah Paulson with James Corden, Carl Reiner and … Another familiar face from the other Ocean’s films.

WRITER(S): Gary Ross and Olivia Milch (screenplay); Gary Ross (story); George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell (based on characters by)

DIRECTOR(S): Gary Ross


HERE’S THE STORY: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has spent nearly 6 years in prison in New Jersey. And now, she’s about to be released. And what does she have planned the moment she gets out of jail, other than hanging out with her friend Lou (Cate Blanchett)? A heist, of course, just like her late brother Danny would have done. Her idea? Rob the Metropolitan Museum of Art during its biggest social event of the year of a $150 million dollar necklace locked in a Cartier vault.

How is she going to do that? Well, it starts with getting fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) to convince prominent socialite Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to let her style her for the gala. Of course, Daphne will have no clue that she is being used, nor that pick pocket Constance (Awkafina), computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), fencing – stolen property, not the sport – expert Tammy (Sarah Paulson) and jeweler Amita (Mindy Kahling) fit into the mix. Then again, when you have a $150 million on the line, it’s probably best to not ask a whole lot of questions. 

Given that Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the man responsible for Debbie going to jail in the first place, is also going to be Daphne’s date for the evening, however, there are a lot of questions waiting to be answered indeed …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway and James Corden fans; fans of heist movies; people who liked Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; feminists 

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who feel that franchise reboots/add-on movies are unnecessary; people who will miss the original – and by original, I mean modern – Ocean‘s cast; people who have difficulty accepting movies where the audience is required to continually make large and critical leaps of faith

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? A film that features strong performances despite nearly being undone by a script that tries to make a major plot twist and instead creates a major script problem, Ocean’s 8 isn’t a bad film nor great film by any means …

It’s just a nice diversion from your day-to-day existence, which given the nature of the film will be more than enough to satisfy most fans.

Ocean’s 8 is fun because of the seriousness most of the cast gives their roles in terms of performing, NOT because of the situations tin which they find their selves. For much like the scathing reviews of the hot mess that was Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s 8 has a script that requires the audience to believe one of its characters makes a massive switch in a plot twist that only works because it has to for the entire film to work, which distracts from what otherwise would be a fun if not predictable due to its, well, predictable nature. 

Bullock, who has somehow started looking like Michael Jacksonall of the sudden, keeps everything flowing smoothly with a solemn resolve while Blanchett plays up her character’s cool and confident nature. Rihanna continues her streak of picking roles where she really gets to continue develop her acting skills into a solid package and Hathaway gets the biggest spotlight, which given the discussion of her role in the film’s trailer, makes total sense seeing as how she does so much to make what could have bene a throwaway role a critical one. At least James Corden continues to prove he may be the most talented host on late night TV with his role as an insurance investigator called in post-heist as he proves there’s a lot more to him than being a more affable Ricky Gervais who does great stuff with pop culture and music. (That’s a roundabout way of saying he can act.)

And like its male-driven counterparts, Ocean’s 8 is a movie you don’t go to for a logical story; it’s one you see for its stars and their interplay with one another. There are cameos from celebrities you’d expect to see at an event involving a big gala at a major metropolitan museum, the main cast trade jokes and interplay well with each other; unfortunately co-writer/director Gary Ross plays things down the easiest path and while there are several subplots that are potentially interesting – what happened with Danny? Are Blanchett’s and Bullock’s characters more than just friends? Why is Armitage’s character even connected to Hathaway’s character in the first place? And we’re supposed to just roll with THAT explanation for Hathaway’s character?! – that are just left unexplored or that are unsatisfying that the grand potential for Ocean’s 8 never quite materialized.

But behind every great fortune is a crime … Audiences will just wish it wasn’t in robbing them of a better movie that could have been made.