The Ocean’s series is like an excuse to get big actors together and have them do clever things in slick fashion. But it works as a fun diversion. So now comes the spin-off, Ocean’s 8, and it’s nearly as good as the source material. As a female version, it still has the same qualities of the series. This one is about Danny Ocean’s(George Clooney in Oceans Eleven) sister Debbie who has been released from jail and is prepared to continue her tomfoolery. Like her brother, she’s an expert thief. There’s a necklace worth 150 million dollars that lays in the ‘Cartier’ vault and she intends to steal it during the Met Gala in New York. So she assembles a team.
Sandra Bullock’s performance as Debbie is better than one might think. She seems neutral, kind of serious, portraying a toughness that isn’t projected. This is far from the Romcom Sandra Bullock that some viewers may remember. Then there’s Kate Blanchett playing Debbie’s friend Lou, classy as always, talented as ever, a bit unrecognizable looking like a lead singer from a rock band. They hire a computer hacker named Nine Ball played by Rihanna and a stay-home mom named Tammy (Sarah Paulson) whose garage is packed with boxed appliances and bicycles claimed to have been bought from Amazon. And there’s Constance (Awkwafina) who’s a pick pocket with acrobatic talents. But Helena Bonham Carter as Rose is given the funniest part. She’s a has-been clothes designer, once iconic during the grunge era but now disgraced. Here she must hire superstar model Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to wear the Cartier necklace for the show. Hathaway’s character is repulsive here. Written and directed by Gary Ross (Hunger Games, Pleasantville), and produced by Steven Soderbergh and Susan Ekins, this is very much an Oceans film. There are traits of familiarity such as the big twists and turns and a complex plan with a precision of planning like in the previous Oceans films. The first half works well without action and lots of scheming. And the second half pays off as expected. Not disappointing for a fun, silly, diversion.