‘Ocean’s 8’ colossal waste of talent and time (Movie Review)

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Film: “Ocean’s 8”; Director: Gary Ross; Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blachett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Sara Paulson, Awkwafina; Rating: *1/2

For weeks I had been watching the film’s fetching cast having a ball doing media interviews promoting what they promised was a fun film. The vast cast of stunning ladies obviously had a ball shooting for this heist drama.

But where is that sense of fun to be found in this dreadfully scripted, atrociously assembled piece of junk-food filmmaking where no amount of good-looking women in stunning clothes and chic decor can hide the sheer asininity of the proceedings?

A heist film by its very nature presumes everyone excluding the heist-doers to be slow on the uptake. But “Ocean’s 8” takes the concept of smart-criminals-dumb-casualties to an unbelievably vertiginous level where the entire cast of non-protagonists are a slow, dim-witted and forgettable hazy lazy blur of inconsequential blokes .

The focus is on showing the ladies to be sassy savvy and sexy. This is a very good looking cast of accomplished actor, some of whom barely get a chance to have their say as the will to prevaricate propel the plot into spasms of self congratulations.

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While Sandra Bullock takes centrestage, the very accomplished Cate Blanchett in a hideous blonde wig that seems borrowed from Lady gaga struggles to furnish relevance to her presence in a film so light-weight it feels like feather and fluff.

I would have like to see more of Rihanna who plays a hacker with no space to hack. And Helena Bonham-Carter as a dress designer on the skids succeeds in lending some chutzpah to an underwritten part.

“Ocean’s 8” is that kind of trippy trendy ultra-chic crime drama that trips over its own smartness. The characters are shallow and absurd in their belief that crime is glamorous and very appealing. In fact Sandra Bullock (whose face, by the way, looks unnaturally taut) says at the end that their crime would serve as a dream-come-true aspiration to some 8-year old girl in some part of the world.

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What the film’s screenwriters didn’t mention, probably because they were too busy being clever, is that this film is written from the perspective of the 8-year old, the very same one whom Bullock wants to think jewellery robbery to be very cool.

Cooler than the outfits that the 8 principal actresses wear is their attitude to crime. They are all in for the money, of course. And of course for the expensive champagne that creates so much fizz in the narrative it feels like a 2-hours of a bubble-bath of glammed-up brainlessness.

Some of the cast specially Anne Hathaway, looks appealing. And Hathaway is just about the best thing in this goodlooking non-happening heist fiasco but where is the heart in the art? Or for that matter, where is the art in filching Hathaway’s expensive necklace while she is retching in the restroom of the poshest museum in NY on a food item served to her by one of the Oceans (Cate Blanchett).

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The plot gets sickening fluffy and flighty during the big heist.

And just when you think the ordeal is over, in walks talk-show host James Corden playing an insurance agent who tells Debbie Ocean (Bullock) to reveal the whereabouts of the stolen necklace. In return, he promises his friendship and amnesty for the girl gang.

But hey, isn’t Bullock out on parole? Oops, I am trying to make sense of a plot that is so sure we will partake of the guilty pleasures that it simply allows its beautiful cast to have a blast without worrying about tomorrow.

But sorry ladies, we are not entertained .

–IANS

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