‘Ocean’s 8’ Review

The best date movie of the summer

Ocean's 8

Ocean's 8 is almost certainly the best date movie of the year: It's a clever heist movie that's deeply amusing and features the most entertaining and attractive collection of actresses collected in one spot in a great many years. Men and women alike will find plenty to love. Word of mouth is going to be great. I promise you this: It's going to be a huge hit. See it now before one of your colleagues spoils the ending.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is wrapping up a five-year stretch in the clink as the movie begins, slipping out of her prison gear and into a sleek black number that suggests she got pinched at a cocktail party. That guess isn't far off, as we'll see; more distressing than her ensemble, at least for audiences, is the news that her brother, Danny (played by George Clooney in the 2001 remake of Ocean's 11), has died while she's in jail.

Debbie suspects a con but doesn't have too much time to worry about it, given the fact that she's putting together a con of her own: a diamond heist during the world's biggest party, the Met Gala. And she's going to need some friends to help her pull it off: the general raconteur, Lou (Cate Blanchett); the fence, Tammy (Sarah Paulson); the diamond cutter, Amita (Mindy Kaling); the hacker, Nine-Ball (Rihanna); the pickpocket, Constance (Awkwafina); and the deeply in debt dress designer, Rose Weil (Helena Bonham-Carter).

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But wait, that's only … hold on, where are my fingers … one, two … seven! And this is Ocean's 8. They'll need one more to round out the team: a dupe to wear the $150 million Cartier necklace the gang has targeted for theft. They choose as their stooge Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), a tabloid-obsessed A-list starlet set to be the belle of the ball.

Everyone in this film is perfectly cast, but Hathaway's turn is a real treat. I've taken to calling her "America's Sweetheart" as a means of counteracting the ways in which the nastier corners of the internet seem obsessed with taking her down a peg. "Hathahaters" are a very real, and very cruel, phenomenon: everything from her award-winning performances to her striking looks to the hats she wore whilst out and about with loved ones have come in for the ugliest of criticism.

Hathaway leans into that social-media-created phenomenon in Ocean's 8, playing up the perceptions that she's a manipulative drama queen with giant features who has no female friends and whose ambitions come off as more than a little grotesque. With any luck, Hathaway's numerous enemies will be forced to reconsider the toxic manner in which she has been treated by the online hordes.

One final word of advice: feel free to ignore anyone who, sight-unseen, starts complaining about "gender flipping" with regard to this movie. A part of me understands the wariness: 2016's Ghostbusters, to which Ocean's 8 is unfortunately drawing comparisons, was terrible, unfunny schlock; its director seemed dead set on antagonizing potential viewers and fans of the franchise; and we were all correct in hating one of that year's biggest flops.

Ocean's 8, on the other hand, feels much more comfortable in its own skin. It knows what it is, whom it has to appeal to, and what sort of things the viewers who come to an Ocean's movie want to see. It doesn't take itself too seriously as a Vehicle For Progress: Debbie even cracks a joke about the lunacy of suggesting that she will set an example for little girls all around the world who hope to one day grow up and become con artists and diamond thieves themselves.

Ocean's 8 is something far more important than a moral lesson or an agent of change: it's a nice little piece of storytelling that'll amuse you for a couple hours. You can't ask for much more than that from a summer blockbuster.