Who knew Danny Ocean had a sister who’s also ready to organize a gang to commit the next heist as soon as she makes parole?
Everyone knows now, since Sandra Bullock plays said sibling in “Ocean’s 8,” a follow-up to George Clooney and company’s crime capers that were based on the 1960 “Rat Pack” classic. The real novelty of the new picture — and especially given the times we’re living in, it’s too bad it’s a novelty – is that Bullock’s group is made up entirely of women. There’s pretty much someone to match every member of the Clooney squad, so if the overall result isn’t all that original, it’s a fun diversion in the spirit of the earlier films.
Bullock’s plan is to lift a priceless necklace during the celebrated Metropolitan Museum of Art’s gala, and those on her team include Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson and Helena Bonham Carter. The real MVP, though, is Cate Blanchett … who’s absolutely masterful as Bullock’s close friend and second-in-command, filling the slot Brad Pitt had for Clooney.
“Ocean’s 8” has even more of an MVP, though, and it’s the actress who plays the intended target of the robbery. Anne Hathaway has been a smart performer ever since she first hit the screen, and that goes back to early TV work she did. Here, she puts everything she knows to work as a self-involved starlet who you love to hate to love; it’s an extremely good performance in a movie where you might not expect to find anything that outstanding.
Other familiar faces turn up along the way, including James Corden, Katie Holmes, Kim Kardashian West, model Adriana Lima – and a couple of members of the Clooney “Ocean’s” crew (who shall go unnamed here), assuring the lineage of the series by appearing in their roles from that preceding trilogy.
“Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” generally are considered more successful than “Ocean’s Twelve,” but an important factor they all had in common was director Steven Soderbergh. He knew exactly the tone he wanted to give them, and though others can try to imitate that (as filmmaker Gary Ross does with “Ocean’s 8,” which he also co-wrote), you’ve either got that sense as part of your creative nature or you don’t.
With that said, “Ocean’s 8” gives it a good try, and the result is quite acceptable entertainment. And it’s occasionally a little more than that, thanks largely to Anne Hathaway – appropriately stealing a movie about people who steal things.