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Ocean’s 8

A group of women prove they can steal as well as the boys

© Warner Bros Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Awkwafina in Ocean's 8.
      Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock: Our Brand is Crisis) has had five years to work on her speech to the parole board. She’s also had five years to plan the ultimate heist. For Debbie, pulling heists is not only a family tradition but a matter of redemption — she needs to prove to herself that the mistake that put her in jail will never happen again. 
        The job is to steal a legendary necklace worth $150 million in the middle of the Met Gala. The job requires that Debbie get past not only the tight security of the Metropolitan Museum of Art but all of the private security firms hired to specifically protect the jewels on loan to the attending gliteratti. 
       Debbie needs a team. She hooks up with her old partner Lou (Cate Blanchett: Thor: Ragnarok) and starts to look for a few good criminals. She insists on an all-female team, because women are so frequently ignored. Together, Lou and Debbie recruit jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling: Champions); fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson: The Post); pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina: Dude); hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets); and designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter: Sgt. Stubby). 
      Can Debbie’s team pull off the ultimate score? Or is robbery man’s work?
Breezy, stylish and a whole lot of fun, Ocean’s 8 is a great summer diversion. The chemistry between the women is wonderful, and when the ladies come together, the movie is fantastic. There is plenty of lickety-split dialogue and jokes to keep the tone enjoyable. Like all caper movies, if you spend more than 20 seconds thinking about the plot, everything falls apart. But the movie is able to effectively distract from the inherent ridiculousness well enough to mitigate any logic problems. 
      Though all the ladies work well together, they don’t work together enough. The Ocean’s franchise is built upon the fun of watching big-name celebrities riff off each other. In service of developing one too many plots, the characters are short-changed. Interesting teammates such as Rihanna and Paulson are given far too little to do in the name of allowing yet another wacky plot thread to form. There’s also entirely too much time spent on an underdeveloped and uninteresting revenge subplot.
      Blanchett and Bullock are effortlessly cool as the fast-talking center of the criminal whirlwind. But the standout in this cast is Anne Hathaway (Colossal). As the mark, a spoiled Hollywood starlet, Hathaway is a scenery-chewing delight. Her Daphne bounces between pouty brat, sex kitten and lonely neurotic. It’s a parody of every actress stereotype, and it is masterfully executed. 
       Certainly full of flaws, Ocean’s 8 is still a pretty great way to spend a few hours. Arguably, it’s as entertaining as the George Clooney series and eons better than the Frank Sinatra original. It has enough laughs and winks at the audience to excuse the plot. This is a good popcorn flick for those who appreciate great fashion, fun heist sequences and loads of girl power. 
Fun Caper Comedy • PG-13 • 110 mins.
 
 
~~~ New this Week ~~~
Hearts Beat Loud
      Widower Frank (Nick Offerman) owns a record shop, he’s got a cool beard, and he used to be in a band. Not yet ready to let his daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) go off to college, he convinces her to record a song with him before she leaves. When the song becomes a viral hit, Frank uses it as an excuse to cling to his permanent adolescence and his daughter.
      Will Frank grow up? Will Sam find her own path?
     Hearts Beat Loud seems familiar because it’s like so many other indie films: A quirky parent and a child work on their relationship before one has to leave. 
      That’s not to say some of these films aren’t worth the familiar journey — but this one seems a bit lazy, so save your money and wait for it to stream on your favorite service. 
Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 97 mins. 
 
Incredibles 2
      When his wife Helen (Holly Hunter) goes back to work as the superhero Elastigirl, Bob (Craig T. Nelson) is left at home with the kids. Bob, the former Mr. Incredible, has a tough time with the role of Mr. Mom, as he struggles to raise moody teen Violet (Sarah Vowell), exuberant boy Dash (Huck Milner) and infant Jack-Jack. 
       While Helen becomes a celebrity, Bob is stuck at home with the baby, who seems to have inherited every possible power from his family. When not dealing with fireballs and laser vision, Bob’s so sleep-deprived he can barely see straight. 
      When a villain threatens the world, the entire Incredible family must team up with their fellow supers to try and stop it. Can Bob work well in a team or are his crime fighting days behind him? 
      One of the best films in the fabled Pixar catalogue, The Incredibles was a brilliant dissection of suburban ennui and how adults are forced to juggle their needs with those of their family. Hopefully The Incredibles 2 will be as insightful and funny as its predecessor.
Prospects: Bright • PG • 116 mins. 
 
Tag
      Lots of friends have traditions: Some go on trips, some do game nights, some have key parties. This particular group of five friends keep their connection strong by playing a highly competitive game of tag one month each year. The same game has been going on for 30 years.
       The game is competitive. Jobs, births, deaths, weddings — none of this will get in the way of slapping a friend and triumphantly declaring them “it.”         Throughout the years, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has become a bit of a legend. He’s never been tagged. When he announces his plans to retire from the game undefeated, his buddies gear-up to make this year the year Jerry is “it.”
      Based on a bizarre true story, this comedy is about the power of friendship and the glorious immaturity that can be found when groups of men get together. 
Prospects: Flickering • R • 100 mins.