There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8, but the same could be said about the three Ocean’s movies that came out during the aughts. After all, those Clooney/Pitt vehicles were a remake of the Rat Pack era Ocean’s 11 that starred Frank Sinatra back in 1960. None of these films exist for any reason beyond a bunch of suave guys looking cool while they pull some elaborate, often overly convoluted heist.
If Hollywood’s going to keep rebooting (and re-rebooting) franchises until a meteor collides with Earth and all life ceases to exist, gender-swapping out the characters at least adds something slightly different. Even if it is done in a search-and-replace kind-of way.
In this newest iteration, Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister to Danny (Clooney), recently paroled after five years in prison, who wastes no trying to rally a crew to pull of a heist she’d meticulously planned throughout her incarceration.
Lou (Cate Blanchett) is the new Rusty Ryan (Pitt), the trusted confident/constant naysayer. She spends her time throughout the first act trying to talk Debbie out of her plan, before going along with it anyway. Which (naturally) involves them assembling a crack team of five other hackers, pickpockets, and various socialites. Told through montage, of course.
Still, for as rote and predictable as it sounds — and is — it manages to be mostly enjoyable, thanks entirely to the likability and charisma of the titular eight. Even if the characters aren’t ever really given enough time on screen to develop, the combined talents of Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect accompaniment to the Debbie and Lou’s masterminding.
Rounding out the ensemble is Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger, a wealthy celebrity who starts as a patsy before graduating to full-on accomplice. It’s the kind of role that lets Hathaway embellish the full range of her talent, particularly her under-appreciated comedic timing.
What few surprises there are in the film end up being what’s been left out, including the “oh no, they’re about to get caught,” and the “don’t worry, getting caught is part of the plan” tropes. Though it’s still the kind of caper that involves a substantial suspension of disbelief, mostly due to some of its more intricate steps. But, being an Ocean’s film, it’s easy to shrug it off and just go with it.
Honestly, that’s really the best mindset to have while watching. It’s essentially a 110-minute trailer filled with stylized shots of stylish people thieving stylishly. Which is exactly what you should be expecting.
Ocean’s 8 is in theaters now