Ocean's 8

Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros via CNN

Movie Review: 'Ocean's 8'

Like its predecessors, 'Ocean's 8' is preposterous and convoluted and moderate glossy fun.

June 07, 2018 - 4:00 am

By Bill Wine

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Sinatra to Clooney to Bullock.
   
That's the triple-play combo that has shepherded the Ocean's franchise of crime thrillers that stretched over half a century, starting with Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack cronies in Ocean's 11 in 1960.
   
Then, just after the turn of this century, it was re-imagined and updated by director Steven Soderbergh as a trilogy  -- Ocean's 11, 12, and 13 -- starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and friends.
   
And now we get the female variation/rejoinder.

3 stars

   
Ocean's 8 is an elaborate escapist entertainment, another star-studded sting, offering an ensemble of women led by three Oscar winners -- Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Anne Hathaway.
   
And, like its predecessors, it's preposterous and convoluted and moderate glossy fun.
   
Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Danny Ocean, the consummate con artist played by Clooney throughout the trilogy.
   
Just out of prison after a five-year sentence, she rounds up an all-female crew of crooks to pull off a seemingly impossible mission: a brazen scam involving New York City's annual Met Gala, a fashion extravaganza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
   
At stake, among other things, is a diamond necklace worth north of $150-million.
   
Director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, The Wonder Games, Free State of Jones), who also scripted Big and Dave, employs a light touch, offers extensive sleight of hand, and moves things along briskly, working from a screenplay with its share of surprises, if not quite enough tingly tension, that he co-wrote with Olivia Milch.
   
Soderbergh is one of his producers, and his supporting cast includes Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Dakota Fanning, and Helena Bonham Carter. 
   
The cast is eminently watchable, even if they're rather sketchily delineated -- as the genre dictates -- but the film resonates with contemporary audiences who want to see women make the impossible mission happen as they pull off a daring crime in plain sight.
    
How?  Bullock's Ocean explains:
   
"A him gets noticed.  A her gets ignored,," she says at one point.  "But for once, we want to be ignored."
   
Improbable?  Sure.  But sufficiently convincing as it occurs.
   
This is wish fulfillment, plain and simple, with the kind of rooting interest that lets the audience dip their toes in the naughty.
   
So we'll purloin 3 stars out of 4 for the amiable heist flick, Ocean's 8, a convivial divertissement that never quite shifts into high gear, but features a low gear that's a steal.