‘Ocean’s 8′ is a solid spin-off

By Elspeth Macnab-Stark
Times-News correspondent

   ”Ocean’s 8″ brings us back to the brilliantly risky Ocean family business in a solid spin-off of the successful “Ocean’s 11″ trilogy.
Following George Clooney’s iconic role as Danny Ocean, Sandra Bullock plays his estranged sister Debbie, who has just been released from prison. She is putting together a crew to pull off the ultimate heist — stealing a $150 million necklace from New York City’s annual Met Gala.
The star-studded team of thieves included: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rhianna, Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham-Carter and Sarah Paulson. James Corden and Richard Armitage also had key roles. Armitage plays Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, who framed her, thus providing the ulterior motive for the heist: revenge. When the team become suspects John Frazier (James Corden), the relentless insurance investigator, bails them out, a little too conveniently. Corden snatches up the role of hero, negating the feminist undertones and quickly diffusing the tension. This creates the only snag in the undeniably female focused film; why didn’t these intelligent women solve the problem themselves?
Meanwhile, socialite Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) is a prop in Debbie’s plan.
The location of the Met Gala provided the perfect opportunity for celebrity cameos, including musicians, actors, models and designers. However, this glamorous setting seems to be the only attempt “Ocean’s 8″ makes to live up to the “Ocean’s 11″ films. “Ocean’s 8″ lacked the wit and astonishingly clever writing we’ve come to expect from the franchise, with new writer/director Gary Ross telling a predictable story. With no twists to keep the plot moving, it was left to the acting of the lead women to carry the film — a job they did incredibly well.
“Ocean’s 8″ is consistently entertaining. It maintains the same sense of humor as its prequels, with a new all-female cast to once again promote female empowerment in film. It takes the concept of high-profile male thieves and subverts the idea that the women are only involved with the crime if they’re involved with the men pulling it off.
“Somewhere out there, there’s an 8-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal.” Debbie tells her team, “You’re doing this for her.”
Despite its other issues, “Ocean’s 8,” has, at the very least, created a group of incredible new role models.
“Ocean’s 8″ is rated PG-13 for suggestive content, mild language and casual drinking/drug use.

Elspeth Macnab-Stark is a high school graduate and a Teens & 20s writer.

 

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