Ocean’s 8 doesn’t change Status Quo

(L-R) SANDRA BULLOCK as Debbie, CATE BLANCHETT as Lou, RIHANNA as Nine Ball, MINDY KALING as Amita, AWKWAFINA as Constance, HELENA BONHAM CARTER as Rose, ANNE HATHAWAY as Daphne Kluger and SARAH PAULSON as Tammy in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' "OCEAN'S 8," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Ocean’s 8 is just entertaining enough to pull off a heist but the film doesn’t really up the stakes in the franchise.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has been planning the Met Gala heist for five years, eight months, and twelve days.  Or so she says.  Pulling it off won’t be easy.  It’s going to require the aid of her partner, Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett).  By Debbie’s math, it’s going to take seven people to pull it off.  This is where their team comes in.  They bring in Amita (Mindy Kaling), Constance (Awkwafina), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), Nine Ball (Rihanna), and Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) to get the job done.  No, they aren’t robbing the Met but rather they are going after the Toussaint, a $150 million diamond necklace that will be worn on the neck of actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

Whether it’s the watch he owned or his crypt, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) does have a small presence.  He may be gone but he’s certainly not forgotten in the female-led installment of the series.  Titled Ocean’s 8, there’s no doubt that this film could spawn a few sequels of it’s own.  There’s a lot of talent involved in this film and that goes without saying.  When all is said and done though, it’s the same old status quo except for moving the activities from Las Vegas to New York.  While this film may not contain the same people, everyone has a job to do in the crew.

This begs the question of whether the film is necessary.  Debbie Ocean stands in for Clooney while her partner, Lou, is standing in for Brad Pitt.  These films require a talented ensemble of name actors.  This one isn’t lacking in names.  Bullock, Blanchett and Anne Hathaway account for a combined ten Oscar nominations, including a total of four wins.  All in all, it’s a lot of fun to watch this cast work together.  These characters are complex and maybe even more so than the previous trilogy.  This is without getting into the whole charade of who’s who compared to the previous trilogy.  Elliott Gould reprises his role as Reuben Tishkoff when Debbie pays a visit to Danny’s crypt.  Whether or not he’s actually in there is another question.

The women are front and center but it’s late night host James Corden who lightens the mood as insurance investigator John Frazier.  Frazier’s investigation plays out much differently than that of the investigation depicted in last summer’s Logan Lucky.  Interestingly enough, Logan Lucky was directed by the Ocean’s trilogy helmer Steven Soderbergh.

Every film that gets gender-swapped, for lack of a better term, is going to play differently.  There’s nothing wrong with moving the action from Vegas to the Big Apple.  With yet another film in the Ocean’s franchise, we’re so familiar with what’s happening that we can see it coming a mile away!  It’s entertaining and fun to watch, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt that the stakes weren’t upped enough in this case.

While the film may offer just enough entertainment to keep viewers intrigued, Ocean’s 8 doesn’t do enough to change the status quo and that’s the biggest flaw of the film.

DIRECTOR:  Gary Ross
SCREENWRITER:  Gary Ross and Olivia Milch
CAST:  Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Richard Armitage, James Corden, with Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter

Warner Bros. Pictures will release Ocean’s 8 in theaters on June 8, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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