Whilst it may not quite boast as impressive an ensemble as the original Ocean’s trilogy managed to concoct (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts to name a few), Ocean’s 8 still steers ahead on charm and glamour, proving that an octet of women can do anything just as capable as an eleven-strong crew of men, if not more so.
The scenario at hand may not dazzle as brightly as the $150 million dollar necklace at the centre of it all, but writer/director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) injects enough sleight of hand, witty banter, and double-guessing to make it all seem worthwhile – even if his fabulous cast deserve better.
We know from the get-go that the planned heist will be nothing but a success, but as to how it comes to be proves neatly entertaining with a fresh-out-of-prison Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) pleading her case to her parole officer that, upon her release, she will opt for the simple life; “I just want to pay my bills” she so innocently quips.
Stunning couture, hefty sums of money, and a bevy of beautiful people (Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian and Katie Holmes are amongst the familiar faces earning cameo credits) prove far from simplistic for Debbie, with the annual Met Gala serving as the backdrop for her proposed scheme that will see her and her she-crew lift a pricey Cartier necklace off the flawless features of vapid actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway, clearly enjoying herself).
Cate Blanchett (as Lou, Debbie’s long-time friend and partner-in-crime), Mindy Khaling (jewellery maker Amita), Sarah Paulson (Tammy, another former crim, now playing suburban mother duties), Awkwafina (slippery-handed thief Constance), Rihanna (laid-back tech genius Nine Ball), and a wonderfully eccentric Helena Bonham Carter (declining fashion designer Rose Weil) complete Bullock’s aforementioned crew, with each actress doing their best to leave an impression in a bid to overcome the script’s shortcomings; Blanchett (great as she is) feels surprisingly under-utilised, and Khaling is criminally bypassed.
The Met Gala sequence itself is, admittedly, quite joyous to watch play out as each character has their specific part to play, with Ross clearly placing much of his script focus on how intricately the heist can be executed. It’s well tailored, albeit ever-so-lightly, and with barely a moment to allow its audience to think, Ocean’s 8 proves acceptable escapism that’ll steal your attention during its running time, but is unlikely to stay with you after you’ve exited the theatre.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Ocean’s 8 is in cinemas now