OCEAN'S 8 Review: 4 out of 10 (Tepid and Tedious)
OCEAN’S 8 is a heist film directed by Gary Ross and written by Ross and Olivia Milch. The film is a spin-off from Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy and features an ensemble cast, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. The plot follows a group of women, led by Debbie Ocean (Bullock), the estranged sister of Danny Ocean (played in the previous films by George Clooney), who plan on robbing the Met Gala. There is clearly a lot of talent in this cast, and it's too bad really since the script and the film itself is pretty awful. Although nearly any heist film wants to pull the wool over the eyes of the audience, this film seems to want to pull the wool over the audience’s eyes nose mouth and choke them out at the throat so that they pass out and wake up later believing they saw a better movie than they actually did.
That’s right—OCEAN’S 8 roofies the audience. And it does this with its star power. It does it with a paint by the numbers heist movie set up. It does it with a fairly predictable story arc for anyone who's ever seen a heist film. But this reboot of the OCEAN'S franchise (that arguably only had one good film to start with) ends up being a far worse version. That is mostly because it just assumes that the audience doesn’t really care enough about the plot for all the contrivances, conveniences, and nonsensical twists for it to really matter. And anyone that can actually count past the number eight can see most of these twists coming a mile away. The other ones you won’t see coming aren’t really surprises as much as they are revelations of explaining to the audience all the things they *in no way* could have figured out by watching the film on their own. So, what you are left with is 95% of a film that means virtually nothing until the last 5% of the film that just conveniently explains everything away. Even the “God from the Machine" of the “Deus ex Machina” would be scratching their head in frustration.
What's worse is that no one in the film seems to really care about the movie that they're making. Despite all the talent assembled, nearly all of them seem to be sleepwalking through their performance. Sandra Bullock seems particularly dead on arrival. So, although the film is slick and sheen, there isn't much fun to be had. Very little tension or conflict means OCEAN’S 8 stays in fairly tepid waters. And that might be enough for some, but it wasn’t for this reviewer.