This latest addition to the Oceans franchise swaps out George Clooneys merry band of conmen for an equally merry, but now female, group of criminals.
This isnt revolutionary, of course: the all-female reboot idea was first trialled two years ago with the Ghostbusters remake, a leaden film that was most notable for the geysering plume of online misogyny it inspired. Thankfully, Gary Ross film has largely avoided such a reaction – the benefits of being second over the top into the fanboy firing line, I suppose.
It stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the sister of Clooneys now apparently deceased lead Danny. Her target is a $150m necklace, which she plans to nick at the Met Gala, the biggest night in American fashion. Debbies scheme involves stealing the jewels from around the neck of Daphne Kluger, a slightly dopey actress gamely played by Anne Hathaway.
As is tradition, she assembles a crack team of heisters, led by her trusted deputy Lou, a dud role that Cate Blanchett does her best to enliven. Our scurrilous anti-heroes include a jewellery expert (Mindy Kailing), a hacker (Rihanna) and a fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter) they recruit to make Klugers Gala dress.
Debbie, however, has an ulterior motive for the con: to frame Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), her former partner – and partner-in-crime – whose testimony sent her to prison.
Unfortunately, the film fails to establish a convincing relationship between Debbie and Becker, either as lovers or nemeses, and their scenes feel shabby and tired. This is perhaps a failure of nerve on Ross part, given that without this side-mission the main body of his film wouldve contained no substantial speaking parts for men.
The heist itself is over fairly quickly, and Ross script as a whole is incredibly economical, sometimes to a fault. The only bit of fat on it is a flabby final chapter involving James Corden as an insurance fraud investigator tasked with tracking down the jewels.
Cordens a funny one – not funny in the comedic sense, but more as an anthropological artefact, a study in just how far a British accent and a bit of geezerish charm can get you in America. He gets the best lines, too, delivering them with all the zeal youd expect from the fourth best actor in Gavin & Stacey.
Miscasting aside, Oceans 8 is alright. Its fun to watch Bullock and Blanchett banter with one another, and Rihanna looks to have real chops. Its not Eleven, but it would run Twelve and Thirteen pretty close.