REVIEW: ‘Ocean’s 8’ powered by cast, weakened by script

Now we just need an “Ocean’s 9” and “10” to bring it full circle.

All jokes aside, “Ocean’s 8” continues the saga with a new cast of characters, but maintains its connection to the original series. This time the movie focuses on Debbie Ocean, the younger sister of Danny Ocean, who was played by George Clooney in the original trilogy.

In the film, Debbie has her sights set on pulling off a heist at the Met Gala. The target is a diamond necklace to be worn by an actress named Daphne (Anne Hathaway). To pull off the heist, Debbie recruits her partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), the jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), a profiteer Tammy (Sarah Paulson), pickpocketer Constance (Awkwafina), a hacker who goes by Nine Ball (Rihanna), and a fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter).

“Ocean’s 8” is a fluff piece. The movie is a lighthearted romp, featuring a fairly safe heist with a group of characters each displaying their own quirks. The movie doesn’t have the intensity of “Reservoir Dogs” or “The Town,” the style of “Baby Driver” or “Inception” and lacks the wit that was displayed in last year’s “Logan Lucky.”

Instead, like others in the franchise, this movie is a popcorn picture, one where an audience can see some of Hollywood’s biggest stars get together and have some fun interactions. This aspect works thanks to a great lineup of actresses.

The flick features three Academy Award winners in Bullock, Blanchett and Hathaway, an Oscar nominee in Carter and a Golden Globe winner with Paulson. Bringing things full circle are the rest of the cast who play some of the more unique characters and provide some solid entertainment value.

The talented cast does a lot for the film, with their banter and interactions enough to hook an audience. Plus, there’s enough intrigue in seeing how the heist will be exactly pulled off. However, that’s really all the film has going for it, and because it’s somewhat hollow, the picture begins losing steam after a while.

This likely has less to do with the story, though, and more to do with the script. Like other heist pictures, the first act is the recruitment, the second is the planning and third is the execution. That’s perfectly fine and isn’t really the issue here. The problem is the script simply feels lackluster, with the dialogue featuring very few, if any, memorable lines or quips.

In the end, it’s an OK film and fits well with the rest of the summer’s escapist movie catalog. Seeing it at a matinee is probably best. 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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