The Metropolitan Museum of Art better beef up its security in case would-be criminals get inspiration from the new film “Ocean’s 8,” about a group of women who plan a heist at the Met’s annual gala. The plot stems from the “Ocean’s” series, but this time it has a feminine twist which gives the idea fresh interest, especially since some appealing stars play the culprits. Although the result is lightweight, the film is a pleasant, entertaining diversion because of the gals involved.
We first meet the brains of the outfit, Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney in the predecessor romp), as she is convincing a parole board that she is reformed and should be sprung from her sentence for another crime. When she sweetly says she just wants a simple life, we immediately know she is conning, and she quickly proves it after her release when she manages to rob items from Bergdorf with an amusing ruse.
The film then proceeds to the way in which she rounds up accomplices, not a very exciting portion, but serving to create the setup. Bullock is superb in the role, and her entourage includes her friend Lou (Cate Blanchett); hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna ); master at pick-pocketing (Awkwafina); a fence (Sarah Paulson); an Indian jewelry maker (Mindy Kaling), and a very kooky Helena Bonham Carter as Rose, a fashion designer with a key task. Her job is to arrange for Ann Hathaway as Daphne Kluger, a celebrity and special guest at the gala, to wear a diamond necklace worth $150 million dollars borrowed from Cartier and accompanied by a heavy security guard. The camera loves Hathaway the most; she is strikingly beautiful here, with smooth acting to match.
Plans are to swipe the necklace and have it speedily taken apart with everyone getting a share. But as we learn as the story progresses, Debbie’s wily plans involve a great more than that, including a way to get even with Richard Armitage as Claude, whose ratting on her sent her to prison. As you see, the screenplay by director Gary Ross and Olivia Milch becomes ultra complex.
The most fun is at the gala, which provides an opportunity to fill the film with celebrities playing themselves (Anna Wintour, Kim Kardashian West and Heidi Klum, among others). The setting also enables costume designer Sarah Edwards to come up with fabulous, eye-catching attire. It is also amusing to watch all of the elements in the grand caper design come together, even if you doubt how this far-fetched stuff could really happen and succeed. You may also wonder why the Met would cooperate with such a robbery plot.
James Corden adds a nice touch as an insurance investigator. Also, “Ocean’s 8” has an underlying theme of larceny at heart, with everyone tantalized by the opportunity for big bucks. It’s a far cry from the films of old in which crime was never supposed to pay. A Warner Brothers release. Reviewed June 9, 2018.