In Ocean’s 8, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) – the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) – puts on the performance of a lifetime during her parole hearing.
Straight after leaving prison following a five-plus year stint, Debbie gets back to doing what she and the Ocean family do best.
Following in Danny’s footsteps, Debbie catches up with her best friend/colleague, Lou (Cate Blanchett), to plan their biggest heist yet.
Like the rest of the movie, this set-up is all too familiar.
In both Ocean’s 8 and the 2001 critical hit Ocean’s 11, Debbie and Danny rapidly transition from being cons, to ex-cons, to head-honchos of their own crews.
From the opening frame, Ocean’s 8 copies the original Steven Soderbergh-directed crime caper without adding anything fresh or original.
Debbie and Danny are pretty much the same character, while Lou is essentially an underwritten version of Rusty (Brad Pitt’s character from Ocean’s 11,12,13).
We soon meet a new collection of criminals for our leads to bounce off of.
Debbie and Lou’s fellow crew members – jewellery maker Amita (Mindy Kaling – The Office), suburban mum Tammy (Sarah Paulson – The People vs. OJ Simpson), pickpocket Constance (YouTube star and rapper Awkwafina), technical whiz Nine Ball (Rihanna), and disgraced fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter) – are all two-dimensional.
Throughout the original trilogy, Soderberg worked to make each character interesting and, most of all, necessary.
Here, remarkable character-actors and comedians are given one or two character traits each.
Thankfully, Ocean’s 8 picks up steam whenever the target, Hollywood glamazon Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), enters the frame.
Playing a parody of herself, the Oscar-winning star delivers enough chutzpah and substance to spice up this otherwise tired installment.
Co-writer/director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games), attempts to mimic the original trilogy’s look and feel.
Despite the impressive cinematography and witty banter, the all-style-and-no-substance aura is unavoidable.
Ross and fellow screenwriter Olivia Milch try their best to deliver an appealing, easy-to-digest installment.
The movie waves the Met Gala, glaring celebrity cameos, stunning costumes, and gorgeous locations in our faces...attempting to distract from the flaws.
For many, Ocean’s 8 will make for a fun night out with friends or an inoffensive date movie.
However, it’s obvious this sequel/spin-off could and should have been so much more.
Our recommendation – check out horror-thriller Hereditary at the cinemas instead.