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dir Gary Ross
scr Gary Ross, Olivia Milch
prd Susan Ekins, Steven Soderbergh
with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Richard Armitage, James Corden, Elliott Gould, Shaobo Qin, Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey
release US 8.Jun.18, UK 18.Jun.18
18/US Warner 1h50
Girl power: Bullock, Blanchett and Rihanna
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
In relaunching this franchise with a new cast, the filmmakers play it very safe, gleefully diving into a glamorous heist that never feels terribly complicated. This is mindless escapist cinema, watching an all-star cast play around with a variety of amiable situations. But even though it's easy to enjoy, the movie feels like a missed opportunity to do something original.
Released after five years in prison, Debbie Ocean (Bullock) can now enact the heist she's been planning since she was arrested. Her first cohort is her best pal Lou (Blanchett), and since the target is the Met Gala they'll need some specialists: designer Rose (Bonham Carter), diamond expert Amita (Kaling), fence Tammy (Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) and pick-pocket Constance (Awkwafina). The trick is to get a $150m necklace off of A-list star Daphne (Hathaway) without Cartier's security guards noticing. But Debbie has every conceivable eventuality covered, and her team is ready for anything.
Debbie is the sister of Danny (played by George Clooney in the original trilogy), so thievery runs in the family. She may have spent five years working out the kinks in her plan to rob the Met, but the screenwriters clearly spent only a fraction of that time writing the script, which glosses over anything even remotely complicated. And the strangest thing is that they never generate any suspense during the heist itself. Even the twists and turns of the plot are routinely matter-of-fact.
There's also the problem that the characters don't have distinct personalities. Instead, they each have an adjective. Thankfully, Bullock is terrific at playing confident, Blanchett brassy, Bonham Carter kooky, Kaling knowing, Rihanna loose and Akwafina spiky. There's also Armitage (playing handsome) as Debbie's ex, who gets roped into the shenanigans, and Cordon (jokey) as an insurance investor. And there's a generous stream of witty cameos running right through the film, including two members of the original cast (Gould and Qin).
This is the kind of movie that challenges neither the cast members nor the audience. It glides along in slick, shiny style with funny throwaway gags and snappy banter, plus some amusing visual sight gags. But it moves so briskly that there's never a chance to savour anything. At least the caper just about keeps a smile on our faces all the way through. But by the end, we're ready to forget about this nonsense and get on with pretty much anything that has a whiff of substance.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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