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'Ocean's 8' is lightweight criminal fun



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Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, and Awkwafina in "Ocean's 8." Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service Buy Photos

The movie "Ocean’s 8" makes theft seem like a walk in the park. Like a good night with your book club, it’s fun, easy and involves all your best girlfriends. 

With summer and a rigorous press tour in full swing, viewers expected "Ocean’s 8" to be an exciting heist film, with badass women at the helm. What they got is more of a relaxed look at the age-old past time of stealing jewelry, like that kept in a secret Cartier vault three stories underground with its own 24/7 security and insurance policy because its worth $150 million kind of jewelry – and still with badass women. 

With the previous installments of the "Ocean’s" franchise, it was George Clooney’s suave Danny Ocean character in the forefront. Always dressed in dapper attire to do the dirtiest work, he had a bevy of equally tailored men to help him in his heists. Now it’s his sister Debbie, a convict in her own right, played by Sandra Bullock, who’s hatching a criminal plan bigger than ever before.   

Of course she needs the help of her female felon friends. Her plan – which she had five years in prison to think about how to execute to perfection – involves getting starlet Daphne Kluger, played by Anne Hathaway, to wear a ravishing Cartier necklace to the Met Gala, America’s most exclusive party. 

In her quest to find the right people to execute her master plan, Ocean and her previous petty crime partner Lou, played by Cate Blanchett, rescue defamed fashion designer Rose, played by Helena Bonham Carter, who then convinces Daphne to let her dress her for the Gala, and specifically to wear the necklace.

Rihanna is the 4/20-friendly hacker Nine Ball, and Awkwafina, the swift street con Constance. Tammy, played by Sarah Paulson, is a mother and housewife trying to cover up her years in the business of crime and Amita, played by Mindy Kaling, is a jeweler who's tired of living with her parents. 

The film’s intro sets the audience up for a fun ride. The filmmakers take us through Ocean’s first day out of prison robbing left and right, pretending to return things she never bought, and staying in a luxury hotel room she didn’t book. This is all after tearfully telling her parole officer she would want to live a simple, laid-back life upon her release.  

The film needed more of these casual robbing sequences, as the scene is followed with one too many low-talking conversations between Ocean and Lou. While the film tried its best to give the entire cast a bit of backstory, it didn’t make it believable enough they would put everything on the line for this heist. 

Besides money, no one had a dire driving force for why they would go through with this plan. In true criminal fashion, they spent their days placidly running through their blueprints, and trusted in Ocean to have the heist go down smoothly.  

They act as if crime, specifically a multi-million dollar jewelry heist, is just so incredibly easy anyone could do it. That’s what’s confusing about this film. 

Everything, from the planning to the execution, goes off without a hitch. Not even a slight bump or mishap occurs – nothing to even threaten danger for these ladies as they pull off their crime. It causes one to wonder if the film is supposed to feel easy, just like the crime was for its criminals? 

Even if it was supposed to feel that way, adding a few elements to make the team sweat would’ve created a much more rewarding payoff than just a multi-million dollar necklace. 

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