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Ocean’s 8 has a stellar all-women cast, some kickass moments, and steers clear of cliches around women, but oh, what a waste to use Mindy Kaling this way!
“Was the movie good?” Asked a guy at my gym and I was noncommittal. He piped up that it was perhaps because it had an all women’s cast. My reasons for not enjoying the movie, though, were probably higher expectations and the fact that Ocean’s 8 really wastes Mindy Kaling as an actor.
The first shot of Mindy Kaling (who plays Amrita) is of her at her family owned jewellery shop in a part of town we can assume is Little India, where she is having an argument in Hindi with her on-screen mom about her not getting married, in Hindi…wait, did I already say that? It’s because while her mom spoke plausible Hindi, Mindy’s Hindi sounded like a cat scratching its nails over a blackboard.
However, I was still excited to see Mindy Kaling and hear more sassy dialogues from her. But that was it – there was no other defining scene with Mindy in it! Mindy Kaling was more or less wasted in the movie, to the extent that someone who does not recognize her would even write her off as an insignificant actor. It turns out that Mindy was the token diversity hire along with Awkwafina and Rihanna in the all-women cast that had Cate Blanchett as Lou, Sarah Paulson as Tammy, Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil, Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean and Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger.
The movie does have some kickass moments, like the one where Sandra Bullock says, “It’s a him. I don’t want a him. A him gets noticed. A her gets ignored.” And Cate Blanchett in her leather jacket. I also really liked Anne Hathway’s portrayal of an insecure and bamboozled actress who is not what she seems. Her character later remarks, “Did you think I was that clueless?”
There were a lot of loopholes in the story though and I felt the story could have been better knit together. For instance, a truck leaving the Met Gala just after the event was on a complete lockdown and no one checking and not a security guard in sight! A diaper changing table inside the kitchen loo at the Met which is crucial for the plot along with an array of jewellery cutting tools neatly arranged in a ‘hidden’ cupboard in the toilet. The heist seems to happen all thanks to the multiple women’s bathrooms in the Met.
The good bit is that here were no cliches in the movie such as women using their bodies to further the con, or women fighting over the plan; in fact, if anything, the team has absolute respect for each other. I especially liked Ri Ri’s role in the movie which was as badass as they come, with her being a hacker with dread locks.
The tools used for the heist are nothing ground breaking but maybe that’s a good thing. The previous Ocean’s 11, 13 and other prequels had more men and more gadgets but the women seem to have achieved an unfathomable heist with fewer gadgets and just 8 women. One could say that women achieve things much more efficiently with lesser resources.
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