*/**** Image A Sound B Extras D
starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
screenplay by Gary Ross & Olivia Milch
directed by Gary Ross
by Walter Chaw Gary Ross's Ocean's Eight is the perfect nightmare: something you're rooting for sociologically that's artistically bad. It's a film with an all-female cast that tries very hard to be racially diverse as well--unlike Paul Feig's Ghostbusters, for example, which declines to show any Chinese people in its New York City, even though it's set largely above a Chinese restaurant. Similarly, the kindest thing that could be said about Ocean's Eight is that it's strangely listless, aggressively mediocre, doggedly unmemorable, while the most accurate thing that could be said about it is that it could have benefited from people of colour in some kind of meaningful role behind the camera. The time is coming, hopefully soon, where movies that just take intellectual properties and recast them with women will also be written and directed by women--who, you know, probably have something to say about women. Although Olivia Milch, hyphenate behind the decent Dude (and probably the only reason Awkwafina got a shot at Ocean's Eight, pre-Crazy Rich Asians), co-wrote this one with Ross, Ocean's Eight has "glad-handing equivocation" written all over it. I don't want to say it's terrible, but...but, I really don't. Best to say that Ocean's Eight won't ruin any careers because the women are already established stars and Gary Ross, as a white guy in the business, is essentially bulletproof and fire retardant, too. True equality, after all, is when women are allowed to make movies this awful and, like their male counterparts, don't spend any time in movie jail for the offense, either.