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Ocean’s 8 **

All-star, female led ensemble has just as little success as the men did in the “Ocean’s” sequels.

Is it worth $10? No

There’s a reason the George Clooney/Brad Pitt “Ocean’s 11” trilogy felt played out by the end – it’s hard to come up with original ideas for heist movies. Yet here we are with a Sandra Bullock/Cate Blanchett spinoff entitled “Ocean’s 8,” which woefully fails to breathe new life into the franchise.

Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of Clooney’s unseen and now deceased (or is he?) Danny. Bullock is fresh out of prison, and we learn that she spent her five years in the slammer plotting a heist. To pull it off, she needs a team. Enter long time friend Lou (Blanchett), computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), jewelry expert Amita (Mindy Kaling), fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), and Debbie’s old accomplice Tammy (Sarah Paulson). You’ll notice there are only seven women listed here. No, I didn’t forget anyone. The eighth person becomes predictable as the movie plays, but nonetheless should not be revealed in a review.

The plan: Convince actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to hire Rose to design her dress for the upcoming Met Gala in New York City. Then, convince Cartier to allow Kluger to wear a necklace valued at $150 million. Then, steal the necklace, and have a good enough cover story to get away with it. Sounds fun, right?

The issues are in the editing and Gary Ross’ directing. The film needs more style, visual flourishes, and a quicker pace. And clarity. Not enough is learned about each lady’s role early on, which leads to narrative blurriness when we should be getting hooked into the story. Obviously not everything will be disclosed (we want clever twists in the finale, after all), but we need more in terms of each woman’s function to keep the viewer engaged. For example, Paulson’s Tammy is a “fence.” What is a “fence,” you ask? I’ve seen the movie and still have no idea. Why not include us in the fun?! You can’t keep the viewer at this far a distance when you want him/her to be smiling and playing along.

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Rihanna’s Nine Ball has two of the best scenes. One involves scanning the necklace, and the other prominently features wheaten terriers. These moments use technology and creativity, and show want the movie could’ve been if more of this ingenuity came through in a compelling way. To its credit the last third of the film, highlighted by James Corden as an insurance investigator, picks up some slack. By then it’s too late, though, and the twists, while clever, aren’t quite worth the journey to get to them.

Want to know how lame “Ocean’s 8” is? The car ride home was about a half hour. At no point did the wife and I discuss the film. One would think that a movie about a major jewel heist, and all the deception and intricate planning it entails, starring a who’s who of Hollywood leading ladies, would’ve led to some discussion about what we just saw. But no. “Ocean’s 8” is the worst thing a movie can be: instantly forgettable.

Did you know?
Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks were approached for roles but were unable to commit.

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