“A ‘him’ gets noticed; a ‘her’ gets ignored,” says Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) to her all-female crew. “For once,” she says, “we want to be ignored.” Debbie is the brains for an audacious heist: stealing a Cartier diamond necklace (weight, 6 pounds; value, $150 million) from a movie starlet’s neck at the New York Met Museum’s annual fashion gala. That’s the setup for “Ocean’s 8,” a feminine riff on Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” trilogy.
Can Debbie Ocean and her talented squad pull off this “heist of the century”? Does crime pay? Will you be entertained? Answers at “Ocean’s 8.”
Sandra Bullock is appealing as Debbie Ocean, estranged sister of the late Danny Ocean (George Clooney) from the original franchise. “Somewhere out there,” she says to her crew, “is an 8-year old girl, lying in bed, dreaming of becoming a criminal.” She should know, she’s like that — a criminal through and through. On probation after five years in the lock-up, her first stop is Bergdorf-Goodman’s for some smart shop-lifting. Next, she recruits her crew: Cate Blanchett is Lou, an old friend; Mindy Kaling, Amita, jewelry expert; Sarah Paulson, Tammy, stolen goods mover; Rihanna, Nine Ball, web hacker; Helena Bonham Carter, Rose, fashion designer; Anne Hathaway, Daphne, model; and Awkafina, Constance, pickpocket and card shark.
Others in the cast include Richard Armitage as Debbie’s former boyfriend, Claude Becker, and James Corden, insurance investigator John Frazier.
“Ocean’s 8” is a heist flick, a hybrid that draws from four film genres — action, comedy, crime and thriller. In this case, it’s mostly crime and comedy. Directed by Gary Ross who, with Olivia Milch, wrote the script, “Ocean’s 8” divides into two parts as Soderbergh’s films did. Debbie recruits her team in part one (an hour in movie-time). In part two, the heist plays out — successfully or not (no spoiler from me). In an epilogue, James Corden’s funny insurance investigator uncovers Debbie’s complex motivations for the heist and other hidden plot elements. I was entertained watching “Ocean’s 8” as it turns a traditionally male-dominated enterprise upside down, but keeping the many characters sorted out was, I confess, a bit of a challenge.
Rated PG-13 for language, drugs and suggestive content, “Ocean’s 8” runs 110 minutes. It’s got a smart soundtrack. Listen for “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” Watch for uncredited celebrities at the Met Gala.
“Ocean’s 8,” a jewelry heist:
A diamond necklace, highly priced;
Sandra and her female crew —
Clever caper and comic coup.