Reviews for the Easily Distracted

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Ocean's 8

Title: Ocean's 8

Describe This Movie In One Quote From The Liner Notes of Nothing Like the Sun:

STING: He once told me over dinner that he looked forward to receiving his naturalization papers so that he could commit a crime and not be deported. "What kind of crime?" I asked anxiously. "Oh, something glamorous, non-violent, with a dash of style," he replied. "Crime is so rarely glamorous these days."
Brief Plot Synopsis: Can this octet beset the Met? No sweat.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3 martinis out of 5.

Tagline: "Every con has its pros."

Better Tagline: "Boy you know you love it / How we're smart enough to make these millions"

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has just been paroled after five years in prison, and she's put that time to good use by planning to pull off a robbery during the Met Gala. To accomplish this, she'll have to reconnect with former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), assemble a crew, and figure out how to get close to the celebrity (Anne Hathaway) who'll be wearing the legendary Cartier necklace she's planning to steal.

"Critical" Analysis:
 Some of you may feel compelled to bleat about the indigntiy of an all-female "reimagining" of the Ocean's movies, and if so, you should go ahead and stop. Just because someone (Hunger Games director Gary Ross, in this case) decided to film a new version doesn't mean that movie you liked no longer exists. It's true!

Ocean's 8 might appear to be an opportunistic attempt to capitalize on a well-known franchise (for varying values of "well-known"). But there are legitimate connections; Debbie is the little sister of Danny (whom we learn in the pre-credits sequence is deceased), and Soderbergh gave his blessing by serving as executive producer here. Ross may have difficulty capturing the ring-a-ding spirit of those movies, but it's enjoyable enough.

As with the other entries, the character intros are amusing, if necessarily perfunctory. And they effectively showcase their various strengths without providing much in the way of backstory (Rihanna's Nine Ball and Sarah Paulson's suburban fence Tammy benefit the most, aside from the principals). And as with the other entries in the franchise, you just sort of have to go with the flow on the tech stuff and the relative ease with which they pull everything off.

Sorry, you didn't think this ended in a Reservoir Dogs style bloodbath at the end, did you? Admittedly, the idea of Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter facing each other down in a warehouse gives one a certain ... frisson, but it would also violates the spirit of every Ocean's movie since the Sinatra original.

Summer movies used to be escapist by definition, but this year's have already been pretty tense. So far (among others), we've had a home invasion thriller, a movie about a couple stranded at sea, and an alleged kids flick where the main character is encouraged to "relax and enjoy" getting their privates grabbed. And that's not counting Avengers: Infinity War, which probably should have had therapists waiting outside theaters after the credits rolled.

It's also nice to see some middle-aged leading ladies. If we're good with another movie showcasing Tom Cruise's apparent death wish, we should be perfectly okay with Bullock and Blanchett masterminding and executing a heist with verve (though the latter's wardrobe threatens to overshadow her performance). Rihanna and Awkwafina will appeal to the youngsters, and Hathaway wins us over playing a somewhat dimmer version of herself. The film also gives some screen time to several older actresses (Elizabeth Ashley, Marlo Thomas) whom Hollywood hasn't really seen fit to showcase recently.

Hell, this movie almost makes James Corden tolerable.

Ocean's 8 is fairly unsubstantial, and not very challenging, but who cares? There's nothing wrong with its refreshingly uncynical approach to pursuing a life of crime, possibly because of the innate romanticism of the heist genre, possibly because lighten the f*ck up. Lives aren't at stake, the only real victim is a snooty French jeweler, and there are no guns or krav maga. And if you really want stress this weekend, there's always Hereditary.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar