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3 Stars Movies

Ocean’s Eight is a pleasantly diverting trifle

Gary Ross’ Ocean’s Eight is, like all Ocean’s films before it, a pleasantly diverting trifle. But its relative deficiency of zip and pizzazz makes me wonder if co-producer Steven Soderbergh positioned his own Logan Lucky as an act of sabotage. I found myself mentally compiling a wishlist while watching:

  • I believe it was intended as a plot twist that James Corden’s insurance investigator was chummy with career criminal Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), but it only reduced the stakes.
  • Nice to see Elliot Gould and Shaobo Qin, but a cameo from Julia Roberts would have been fun and fitting.
  • Speaking of cameos, I would have LOL’d if one of the hapless chefs Cate Blanchett was training had been Topher Grace.
  • The insurance investigator could have been a female English star — how about Emma Thompson? Kate Winslet? Thandie Newton? Yes, thematically, it makes sense for the character to be a male antagonist, but it still seems like a missed casting opportunity.
  • I didn’t note one, just one, quotable line of dialogue — like “and then he’ll go to work on you” or “allllllll reds” or “did you check the batteries” or countless others from Ocean’s Eleven.
  • A score by David Holmes would have gone a long way.

Some praise: Anne Hathaway was totally the MVP. As in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, she stole all the scenes, and elevated the material.

Some trivia: I was startled to hear an unmistakable sample of No-Man’s “Dry Cleaning Ray” repeated several times in Daniel Pemberton’s score. I’m a big No-Man fan, and this is a deep cut. I hope Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness were cut a check.

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