First Hit: Lackluster plot, poor direction, and mediocre acting make this film barely worth watching.
The original 1960 Ocean’s 11 film with Sammy, Frank, Dean, Joey et al, wasn’t a great film, but seeing these musical and comic icons together in one film in the early Las Vegas days was fun mainly because of who the actors were outside of the characters they played.
When a re-boot of the Ocean’s series came along starting in 2001 with Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Roberts, and others, we were treated with an irreverent kind of attitude that made the story fun.
With hope, I looked forward to seeing some of the best female actors in the world come together in a story and script worthy of their talent. However, I left the theater thinking, what happened. This film barely gets across the finish line.
Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is the sister of now deceased Danny Ocean (who was played by George Clooney). First question does this mean Clooney cannot play Danny anymore?
The opening scenes show Debbie in a parole hearing having served five-+ years of a longer prison sentence. She was double-crossed by her, at that time, lover and art dealer Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) for faking art purchases of fake art. What is troubling about this opening scene is that Debbie is so good looking, clean and made up there’s no believability that she’d been in prison for five years. The story just doesn’t ring true from the beginning.
Seeking to make money and take revenge, Debbie gets close friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) to help her put a crew together to steal the Toussaint necklace worth $150,000,000 at a gala at the Met in New York City. Finding the crew was done is a flippant manner and only the recruiting of Constance (Awkwafina) as a thief and Nine Ball (Rihanna) held my interest.
To get the Toussaint to the Met, they hire a quirky fading dress designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) to request that Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) a top celebrity wear the Toussaint to the Met. This part of the story is a reach in the way it was told, however Hathaway was a blast to watch.
There is more to the story and let’s just say that revenge and the theft of the Toussaint aren’t all that happens during the big theft scene but by that time, who really cares?
Bullock was OK. She didn’t look anything like a prisoner and from that opening scene it’s a push to make her believable. I did enjoy her shopping spree right after she gets out of prison. Blanchett was wasted in this small, supportive role. Hathaway was the best part of this film. I loved her celebrity attitude and then, when she’s cut in for the loot, her looks are perfect. Mindy Kaling, as jewelry cutter Amita was OK. Nothing to write home about. Sarah Paulson as Tammy the fence, was funny. The tour of her garage was hilarious. Awkwafina was one of the better aspects of this film. She captured the screen with her intensity. Rihanna as Nine Ball the computer genius of the thieves, was very good and one of the better characters and parts in this film. Carter was oddly the same character she’s been in most all her latest films, quirky. Gary Ross and Olivia Milch wrote this milquetoast script with little character development and a non-palpable reason for the heist. Ross did not elevate his and Milch's mediocre story and in the end, it felt lifeless.
Overall: This film will fall to the bottom when people rate the Oceans’ series of films.