First there was Doctor Who, then Ghostbusters and now we have Ocean’s 8; the latest entertainment franchise to undergo the gender swap. Hollywood has established an awful trend when it comes to rebooting their beloved cash cows and this latest film does not seem exempt. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that they are women, that they are women doing normal things on screen like eating, working and being unapologetically feminine but let’s not mistake male roles filled by women with female roles filled by women. I’m sure if the bigwigs in the studio could, they would slap the original male cast members back into the reboot, or perhaps I’m being overly cynical? Although, I wasn’t one bit surprised to see the director was a man by the name of Gary Ross.
To paraphrase article extraordinaire Marta Sundac, these female films would be better off being original stories so when the big blockbuster franchise bombs, (Exhibit A: this film) we don’t find reason to blame the all-female cast. The larger problem here being the studios conning audiences into a nostalgic frenzy only for them to find it’s nothing like what they had hoped. Having said that, I had the benefit/disadvantage of not seeing the original Oceans movies and so I was able to look upon it with fresh eyes. Fresh eyes that is until James Corden entered the frame.
Everything up until then was a smooth exhilarating ride of unabashed fun. The story moved quickly, the characters were compelling and the champagne was free. It’s not like I’m saying James Corden ruined the film because I hate him (I do a little), it’s because when you put a well known celebrity in a film like this they are going to stand out like a sore thumb, especially when they are pretty much playing themselves!
Before you scold me too hard, yes, I’m aware Rihanna is in the film but unlike Corden she actually inhabits a character, she fulfills a function of the story and isn’t just a throwaway handshake deal made by the producer back stage at The Emmys. Ok, perhaps a little harsh considering one man can’t make or break a film (unless you’re Leo) but the story also shifts gears around the point Corden shows up; leaving the audience with a slow friction burn descent down that slippery slide towards the inevitable cheap franchise sequel bait ending.
2.5 Starz: Watch if you like the idea of Cartier eye drops, you’ll probably need them.