Destined for BuzzFeed quizzes and Instagram posts with hashtags like #iconic and #squadgoals, Ocean's 8 certainly looks beautiful. It's just too bad they forgot to make a full movie to go along with it.
A spin-off of a franchise that began with a remake, Ocean's 8 connects so tangentially to the stylish Steven Soderbergh films that it's a wonder they even used the name. Sandra Bullock, as Debbie, the sister of Danny (George Clooney), is fresh out of prison and looking for the next big score, just like her brother.
And just like her brother, she's put together an impossible job that's both about revenge and a huge take. And of course she's got a team of capable ladies. Unfortunately, that's almost all they are. They have quirks, but no real personalities, and none of them get their moments to be hilarious. (Not even Mindy Kaling, who led her own sitcom for six seasons!) It's not like 2001 film was known for its character development, but they all had more to them than any ladies do here.
That's a real shame, because they're all talented. And they all seem to be having a lot of fun, except Cate Blanchett for some reason. Her character is sour, and not in a way that would play to her strengths, where she could cut someone down with a devastating, hilarious comment. No, this is a nice heist movie, where even the person they're getting revenge on is more of a doofus than a cold, heartless billionaire.
The only real revelation of the movie (if you can call it that) is Anne Hathaway as the vain movie star the crew seeks to relieve of her $150 million diamond necklace. In her first straightforward comedy in a long time, she's fantastic, tweaking her own image into the only character that's even mildly complex.
Part of the reason Ocean's 8 won't be remembered as fondly as that 2001 hit – and maybe not even as much as its two sequels – is that it's so flat-looking. That's to be expected when hiring Gary Ross to direct. Aside from Pleasantville, none of his directorial efforts have a lot of visual panache. The film has some Oscar-worthy costumes and a stunningly beautiful cast, but they're all shot in such a pedestrian style that they don't pop off the screen like they should.
At least the film is breezy. Even at almost two hours, it doesn't drag. But it's a copy of a copy: a knock-off handbag that looks identical from far away, but up close has none of the detail that made the original so desirable.