Eleven years after the original Ocean’s trilogy called it quits, Sandra Bullock assembled a team of Hollywood’s biggest female stars to try her and reinvent the franchise, but director Gary Ross seems to be doing whatever he can to hold her back.
As the sister of *spoiler alert* the late Danny Ocean, Sandy B plays Debbie, a swindler no different than any other member of the Ocean family. Fresh off a five year stint in prison, you’d think Debbie might be a changed woman, but you’d be wrong. Instead, she spent every moment of her time in the slammer expertly planning her perfect heist – the Met Gala.
Bullock recruits an all-star team of pickpockets, hackers and con artists alike, made up of Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson.
Without a doubt, the film’s brightest moments all come whenever Anne Hathaway is on screen. As Daphne Kluger, the seemingly superficial supermodel and target of the heist, Hathaway gives audiences the best laughs and some of the biggest surprises. It’s safe to say Hathaway steals the show, if you will.
But with such an illustrious cast of famous actresses, the pop star proves to be one of the most impressive. Rihanna’s Nine Ball joins the lineup as a slick computer hacker capable of breaking into any surveillance system ever. Now, the reality of her abilities might be debatable, but her performance is not to be questioned in the little bit of action she’s given.
“Ocean’s 8” was a fun, suspenseful movie, but it had so much potential to be something excellent. Ross’s screenplay and directing falls flat, and his inability to create something magical with such a talented cast is truly a shame.
One of the biggest downfalls was severely underutilizing Kaling throughout the entire film, giving her fairly little screen time and a less than stellar opportunity to display her comedic genius. At the end of the day, it left me wanting more. More Rihanna. More Kaling. Less James Corden.
After an hour and a half of watching eight women try and stick it to the man, having Corden enter in the final act and deliver the kind of one-liners I was hoping to see throughout the entire movie just seems counterproductive, especially in a cast with the comedic chops of these women.
Based on the cast list alone, my expectations for “Ocean’s 8” were high, and after the underwhelming movie I saw, I can’t help but feel cheated.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.