Ocean’s Eight (2018)

Full disclaimer: I’ve never seen any of the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies, either the 1960 original nor its 2001 remake and its many sequels. That means I don’t really know how this one stacks up against what’s come before, but from a first-time viewer, I can say that I felt left out of the narrative the entire time. The plot kicks in without establishing its characters or the dynamics among them, and before you know it, the screen is inundated with a parade of extraordinarily talented performers who are each short-shifted by a lazy script and indifferent direction. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are both miscast in the ostensible co-leads, while their co-stars are left with rushed characterizations that leave no room for their individual talents: Only Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling manage to leave much of an impression, but the pleasure of watching them is restricted to a few lines here and there (and the less said about Rihanna’s somnambulant performance, the better). By the time the climax at the MET Gala arrives, the movie finally relaxes long enough to have fun with its concept and comes alive, and while it rescues the movie from dol-drums, it also highlights how much of that enthusiasm is missing until the final reel.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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