A Review of “Ocean’s 8”

I’ve made no bones about the fact that while I hated the original Ocean’s 11 starring the Rat Pack, I adore the remakes starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and all those other guys and gals. And I also haven’t been shy about saying that I couldn’t wait for the next in this series, the (mostly) all-female version, Ocean’s 8. But would it live up to my expectations?

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) gets out of prison declaring that she wants the simple life. But Danny Ocean’s little sister’s cut from the same cloth, and she’s spent her five-plus years in the slammer planning a great heist.

The corrections officer who gives Debbie her things back jokes with her about her “performance” in getting paroled, because this officer knows Debbie and knows that she’s conned the parole board.

Debbie heads out in the clothes she was arrested in – a very fancy outfit. She then proceeds to give us a master class in how to refill your wardrobe, accessories, makeup, and fragrance without paying for them, as well as how to score a great room at a hotel, also on someone else’s dime.

Then she calls her BFF Lou (Cate Blanchett) to start her plan rolling.

But first she goes to visit a cemetery, where her brother, Danny, is entombed. Possibly. Debbie doesn’t fully believe he’s in there, and Ruben (Elliott Gould) showing up to tell her to behave doesn’t necessarily sell that Danny’s really dead. It doesn’t sell that he’s alive, either. Is Danny gone? And if he is, or isn’t, is that motivating Debbie’s actions?

Debbie’s an Ocean, so she’s going to run her scam whether Ruben wants her to or not. She and Lou need to get a team of all women together, because Debbie rightly points out that women get ignored and, for this job, they want to be inconspicuous.

What is the job, you ask? Merely stealing a 6 pounds of diamonds $150,000,000 Cartier necklace while it’s being shown off at the Met Gala. Only Cartier never takes the necklace out of the vault, and the Met Gala has insane security measures. And, as with Ocean’s Eleven, there’s a side job Debbie wants done that creates complications and could be the reason the heist fails.

Heist recruitment, planning, complications, and more ensue, along with a lot of laughs. Debbie and her crew are, like Danny’s crew before them, unrepentant about their lifestyles. Even their fence, Tammy (Sarah Paulson), who’s now living in suburbia with a clueless hubby and two kids, isn’t apologetic for what she’s doing.

We find out how Debbie got sent to prison as the movie goes along, and it definitely adds to the overall storyline while not being distracting or pointless. And the movie’s funny all the way through.

Does the heist go as planned? Well, that’s the fun of the movie – finding out, being fooled, being surprised, being satisfied, cheering on our good bad guys.

It’s really refreshing to see a movie where none of the women are apologizing for their lifestyles. It’s also refreshing that, for the most part, the only men discussed are in relation to the job. There’s some hilarious stuff with Constance (Awkwafina) teaching the mother-controlled Amita (Mindy Kaling) how to internet date, but that’s about it for the ladies’ focus on dudes, other than how they relate to the heist.

It’s easy to forget that Helena Bonham-Carter has great comedic timing, but she does and it’s on full display here. Rihanna does a great job with her role, and Awkwafina has crazy energy even when she’s standing still. And Anne Hathaway, as a hyper-realized diva who’s not quite as stupid as she acts, is fantastic.

As with the other Ocean’s films, there’s a lot the audience is likely to miss the first time through. But also as with the other Ocean’s films, re-watching Ocean’s 8 won’t be a burden.

Here’s hoping that Debbie and Lou decided to go for another couple of heists, because I’m ready to line up for Ocean’s 9 and 10.

5 stars out of 5

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