I went in to Ocean’s 8 looking forward to the typical hijinks, the fast-paced banter and you know, an epic heist. Well we certainly got it all and then a little extra with a star-studded female cast and enough cameos to make you wonder how they could afford it.
Not that they need to be worried about budget: the film opened this weekend with a franchise-best of $41.5 Million, so it goes without saying that people are into this movie. As they should be.
It’s a great movie if you’re looking for that easy to watch, fluff feature. Sandra Bullock comes out the gate strong as Debbie Ocean, with that playful intersection between sarcastic serious and comedy that she does so well (see: The Proposal). Debbie is up for parole and she has been rehearsing her plea for five years so it’s no surprise that she gets out. But instead of finding a job and living a quiet life as she promised, she’s off to see Cate Blanchett’s Lou, and just like that the MET Gala heist is ON.
I really loved Debbie and Lou’s on-screen partnership. You had the familiarity of that Ocean’s friendship: with a Danny and Rusty-type foundation, without the feeling of a pure copycat situation. It was smart to remove Danny Ocean from the narrative early on because it would’ve taken away from the fact that the cast is and its’ leads are so strong.
And so is their fashion. I am quite literally obsessed with Lou’s jewelry and she possesses a Mick Jagger quality that screams through her styling choices. Especially against Debbie’s sophisticated and clean fashion, Lou’s outfits stand on their own and Blanchett pulls them off with ease.
But I’m not just here to dissect wardrobe and discuss the two leads. Like I said this is a star-studded female cast and the supporters make their mark. Everyone plays to their strengths with Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil, a fashion designer who is perfectly flighty and Anne Hathaway stealing the show as actress, Daphne Kluger. HBC is a seasoned vet of an actress, with the telling facial expressions and pauses that linger just a little too long but somehow work so bloody effortlessly.
I also cannot believe I’m about to write this down on paper but Anne Hathaway might have been the best part of the whole film. She definitely does her part to shut down even the biggest Hathahaters and channels Miranda Priestly as an actress who is delightfully obnoxious and is completely ignorant of any sense of self-awareness. Perhaps it wasn’t Priestly, but her real life persona that she was channeling (too much?) but I have to admit that at times I had to close my own jaw at the joy she brought me.
Rounding out the eight we have Mindy Kaling as jewelry maker Amita, Sarah Paulson as profiteer Tammy, Awkwafina as pickpocket Constance and Rihanna as hacker Nine-Ball. From Tinder swipes, to stints at Vogue, each do their part to bring the fun to the heist and I have to credit whoever cast this film because the fact that they are all just having a great time together genuinely pops off the screen and seems so effortless when bringing it all together.
We finally get to the MET Gala and one thing I will note is that all seems to go off without a hitch which can at times make the movie feel slow, like you’re waiting for a climax that isn’t necessarily coming. So yes of course, there are a few minor hiccups but in true Ocean’s form, an easy solution is always found and you can assume that any potential wrench in the plans will be resolved. I think what’s missing from the original franchise is that romantic chemistry between George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a secondary storyline. There is a romantic element like this in the plot but without more rapport between Debbie and artist Claude Becker (played by actor Richard Armitage), we are left to focus solely on the plan and prep with no real conflict to distract us.
Finally, at the tail end of the film we have a nice visit from one the original male cast, “The Amazing” Yen and everyone’s favourite carpool karaoke king, James Corden. Playing insurance fraud investigator, John Frazier, he helps wrap up all the loose ends in a tiny little bow and I actually felt more ease between Debbie and John’s characters than I did with her and her artist ex, Claude. I’m hoping to see more of John and perhaps a reprise from some of other past, male heist members should there be a sequel. And given the initial success of this weekend, I think that’s a high possibility and one that I am here for. If you’re wondering if you should go see the film, I’ll leave you with Debbie’s final line and one that I’ve echoed ever since I left the theatre, “You would’ve loved it.”