Friday, January 28, 2022

‘Ocean’s 8’ Review: Anne Hathaway’s ‘Glamour and Grit’ Shine in All-Female Reboot

*”Ocean’s 8” is a surprising film in many ways.

I’m not talking about the plot, which is a pretty straightforward heist film.
No, one of the biggest shocks with “Ocean’s 8” is that the film’s 2 biggest names and co-leads – Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett give performances with no sizzle and that are slightly above-average at best, and yet that doesn’t stop the film from being pretty entertaining.

Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, a professional robber and sister to Danny Ocean – played by George Clooney in the three modern films of the franchise. As the film opens, Debbie has just been released from prison – and immediately sets in motion a plan and recruiting help in order to pull off the heist of the century at the star-studded Met Gala. Her target: A jeweled necklace worth over $150 million.

Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Except, for some reason, Bullock does not seem like she is having any. She goes through the motions of being suave and slick, but her expression changes about as much as a Rose Tico action figure. Bullock has stated that she almost turned down the role and would have no problem quitting acting to be a full-time mom, and that slight lack of passion and joy is noticeable onscreen. The film may have been better served giving the role to a radiant star like Gal Gadot.

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Settlement in Sight for Landmark Legal Battle Over Toddler Dancing to Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ (Report)

Bullock has also drawn inane comparisons to this film and the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot, which is silly, since “Ocean’s 8” is a much better movie. However, it is telling that she and that film seemed to feel having strong female characters meant they couldn’t sprinkle in a strong male character or two. The modern three “Ocean’s” films had Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts and Ellen Barkin in significant roles, after all.

Instead, the only male of real significance is Richard Armitage as Claude Becker, Debbie’s former lover who sold her out and helped send her to prison.
As for Blanchett, her character, Lou, was so bland I don’t remember much about her.

Thanks to a decent script, the rest of the ensemble is introduced with some flair. Even Mindy Kaling, as a jewelry maker, is interesting and has some funny lines.

Rihanna gives a strong performance as one of the better characters, Nine-Ball, a technical genius who can hack anything; Awkwafina is also often fun as a thief who can unlock anything. Sarah Paulson is fine as a suburban mom and Debbie’s partner-in-crime and Helena Bonham Carter has her moments as a fashion designer who is widely thought to be a relic of the ’80s and suddenly finds herself back in the spotlight – and under an even harsher glare as the woman whose job it is to get the celebrity and target of the heist, Daphne Kluger, in position to be ripe for the taking.

Which brings us to the best reason to go see “Ocean’s 8”: Anne Hathaway.
As Kluger, Hathaway has both glamour and grit. She is funny yet fearsome, flirtatious and fickle, snobbish and both supremely confident and extremely insecure.

Hathaway’s performance is critical in a film that has its stars focusing on the heist at hand and little else. She has more personality traits than everyone else combined!

Therein lies the main problem with “Ocean’s 8”. The script, as entertaining as it makes the heist, it never crackles – and every character’s role in the caper the extent of their character development. There is no motivation by anyone except Debbie, who seemingly simply wants revenge. Even a card game between the ladies where they got to know each other, talked trash or showed other traits would have been welcome. Instead, with all that star power, they are like the Cleveland Cavaliers, with each member doing exactly one thing well.

Thankfully, Anne Hathaway’s Kluger is there to channel LeBron and make this “game” something special.

Grade: B

  • Mindy Kaling as Amita, a jewelry maker.
  • Sarah Paulson as Tammy, a suburban mom and Debbie’s former partner-in-crime.
  • Awkwafina as Constance, a thief
  • Rihanna as Nine Ball, a technical genius.
  • Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil, a fashion designer.
Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

YOU MAY LIKE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

SEARCH

THE CULTURECALENDAR: WHAT'S NEW & BLACK ON TV

TRENDING