Friday 15 June 2018

Film Review: Ocean's 8

Girls just wanna have fun in Gary Ross' she-quel, Ocean's 8

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of Danny, is fresh out of jail and has spent her time behind bars planning the perfect heist. Granted probation, Debbie makes a beeline for her BFF and partner-in-crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett), and together the duo begin assembling a veritable group of misfits with whom to stage said heist; the target, a priceless necklace, snatched from the neck of a hapless Hollywood actress, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), during the biggest social event of the year, the Met Gala.

After three capers from Steven Soderbergh and a hiatus, the Ocean's series remerges having been given the Ghostbusters treatment; the ensemble cast of dashing men has been swapped for an ensemble cast of ravishing women, with Sandy B instead of George Clooney at the forefront.

Much like the original films – which ranged from great (Ocean's 11) to average (Ocean's 12) – Ocean's 8 is fun, frisky, slight and aimed at serving up summer thrills and spills, without being overly taxing on the grey matter. It's smooth and suave, with fun characters, an outlandish plot and some slick visuals. It's basically the ideal feel-good Saturday night adult date movie – what more could you want?

The film's strongest suit is easily the ensemble; Rihanna's stoner hacker Nine Ball and Hathaway's ditzy red carpet damsel are highlights, but there is a lot to love about almost everyone with a stake in the heist. The only weak links, in my mind, are Richard Armitage as a slimy art dealer who slighted Sandy B in the past and James Corden as an insurance fraud investigator. The latter seems to have wandered onto set and forgotten to play an actual character, mugging the camera like he's waiting for the Late Late Show studio audience to cheer and clap after every 'gag'.

The heist itself doesn't feel as audacious or as impossible as the trio of Las Vegas vaults from Ocean's 11. The stakes aren't as developed as they could be and solutions are found for problems too quickly or easily to sustain a sense of tension throughout the brisk 110-minute runtime.

The Verdict: 7/10

A worthy successor to Soderbergh's much-loved trilogy, these girls ain't just here to make up the numbers. Hathaway, Bullock and Rihanna shine while some slick direction and writing are sure to keep the audience entertained from end to end. The cinematic equivalent of comfort food to help wash away the long work week.

Ocean's 8 is in cinemas across Australia now.

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