* * (out of five)
Unfunny, unexciting and unsuspenseful, Ocean’s 8 is an embarrassing and obvious misfire. Despite the much-hyped collection of A-List actresses, only one of them – Anne Hathaway – manages to capture your attention, let alone possibly bring a smile to your dial. Every other character is underwritten – how can Mindy Kaling deliver a performance when her scripted character does nothing? – in a lifeless, hand-me-down script featuring a dull, uninspired heist.
Gary Ross, who co-wrote the cookie-cutter (using the 2001 Ocean’s 11 template) screenplay with Olivia Milch, directs in the style of Steven Soderbergh – literally, using the exact same film grammar Soderbergh used for his Ocean’s movies – but without the magic. It’s an odd experience, watching a formula that has worked so well before not working at all. Somehow, and sadly, there is no chemistry between leading ladies Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett (who delivers her most charisma-free performance, like, ever) and almost each of the other “8” are simply bodies in a room. Again, one can’t blame these poor actors, for they have no material to play, or worth playing.
There’s a scene at about the beginning of act two where Helena Bonham-Carter gets one over on a Cartier representative, convincing him to go against his logical position and his professional expertise, simply by revealing that she speaks French. It is neither funny nor logical, but it’s there in the movie, inert, non-sensical, dumb, and emblematic of the whole film, which is composed, simply, of a whole string of similar scenes. When your comedy heist movie lacks comedy and an acceptable heist, you’re just left with a movie, and nothing else; a hundred and ten minutes of light on a screen.