Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) from the previous Oceans movies. She begins the movie in jail, being released on parole and promising to go straight. She has 45 dollars in her pocket and manages to get to New York, scam herself some free makeup and a hotel room, and pretty much everything else she needs. She’s clearly just like her brother, able to con her way to getting whatever she wants.
After that it’s all a bit of an incoherent blur for a while. She’s got a plan, she knows people who can help, they know people that can help, so they all start joining forces and forming some kind of plan, starting with an old accomplice, Lou (Cate Blanchett). The sloppy plot building is papered over with cool music, witty dialogue and snappy editing techniques similar to those in the far superior Ocean’s 11. It’s a frustrating and dull start to the movie.
Once the team of girls are all together though and they begin working through their plan, things loosen up a bit and are a bit more enjoyable. The heist they’re planning is to steal a very expensive Cartier necklace from the neck of movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) while she attends New York’s Met Gala, and under the watchful gaze of a team of security guys. With the help of a hacker (Rihanna), a fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a pickpocket (Awkwafina), a jeweller (Mindy Kaling) and another old con partner (Sarah Paulson), the details of the heist are slowly refined – security cameras hacked, the necklace analysed and recreated via 3D printing. When it comes to the heist itself, it all plays enjoyably enough, but everything goes far too smoothly, with no real tension or suspense or any suggestion that they might not pull it off. Once again, it just feels inferior compared to Ocean’s 11.
Sandra Bullock is the only one here displaying real screen presence, which is a real shame when you consider the talent involved. Cate Blanchett feels underused and Anne Hathaway is the only other actress making any real impact. Everyone else just feels wasted, too restricted to the roles they need to carry out in order to get the job done, with not much else going on.
We didn’t really need another Ocean’s movie. The quality of the previous series diminished with each one anyway and although I’m all up for the refreshing change of an all female heist movie, I felt this would have been much better overall without the whole ‘Ocean’ connection and the need to live up to the previous movies.