'The Office' Star Blames 'White Male Critics' for Mixed Reviews of New Movie
The “Ocean’s” series is the latest to get an all-female remake, which managed to unseat “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last weekend at the box office. Its reign will likely be short, with “The Incredibles 2” hitting theaters this weekend, but at least the vehicle seems to have rejuvenated the career of Sandra Bullock for the 16th time.
I must confess I haven’t seen it; the series jumped a whole school of sharks for me back during “Ocean’s Twelve,” where part of the plot involves Julia Roberts’ character passing herself off as Julia Roberts to pull off part of the scam. I’m sure nothing that preposterous happens in “Ocean’s 8,” but I’d just as soon stick with the Sinatra/Sammy Davis Jr. original and leave it at that.
Nevertheless, the film holds a 68 percent rating at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty good for a summer popcorn-muncher heist film. (To put that in perspective, the aforementioned “Ocean’s Twelve” holds a 54 percent, which is probably still a bit too high.)
While 68 percent isn’t bad, it’s not great; the Daily Wire noted that while most reviewers praised the performances they felt the scripting of the heist “lacked originality and cleverness.” Nevertheless, it’ll certainly go down as the right way to do a remake featuring solely members of the distaff gender in starring roles, as opposed to that jaw-droppingly awful “Ghostbusters” reboot. That’s hardly terrible in any sense of the word.
Yet, according to one of the stars, the only reason that people didn’t appreciate the movie more is because they’re all perfidious white males.
Mindy Kaling — best known for her roles in “The Mindy Project” and “The Office” — plays one of the eight women in on the plot, in her case a jeweler of questionable morals. In an interview, she implied that the only reason people didn’t like the film was because of an animus against people of a certain gender and race.
“Meryl (Streep) was talking about this, she had a great point of view about it,” Kaling said in an interview with Yahoo. “She made movies for women but they are reviewed by men who don’t necessarily value it or don’t look at it in the same point of view as a woman doing it, but it seems just unfair.”
She took it all in stride, though, remembering that everyone who doesn’t like her work is just a sexist and racist.
“Although if I had to base my career on what white men wanted I would be very unsuccessful, so there is obviously an audience out there who want to watch things like (‘Ocean’s 8’), what I work on,” she added.
“The thing about so much of what this movie is, I think white men, critics would enjoy it, would enjoy my work, but often I think there is a critic who will damn it in a way because they don’t understand it, because they come at it at a different point of view, and they’re so powerful, Rotten Tomatoes.”
Again, few reviewers thought the acting and casting was bad, mostly just the script (which, for the record, was written by two individuals of different genders, so you’re only 50 percent sexist for not liking that). Even reviewers with a social justice bent acknowledged that.
“Ocean’s 8 is a bit like being promised a gourmet dinner, but being served meatloaf. I mean, it is good meatloaf, but it ain’t dinner at The French Laundry,” said Even DaVette See of Black Girl Nerds.
Meanwhile, several reviewers actually seemed to rate it more favorably due to the fact that it was making a feminist statement. Christy Lemire, writing at RogerEbert.com, noted that “it makes a real statement to revisit an established franchise like the ‘Ocean’s’ movies — which were ruled by roguish men — and place a murderer’s row of gifted actresses in the key roles.”
However, even Lemire admitted there wasn’t much to “understand” about the film, while enjoying it enough to give it it three stars: “So you can turn your brain on or off watching ‘Ocean’s 8.’ Either way, you’ll have a blast — and you’ll be counting the days until the next job.”
This hardly sounds like an Agnès Varda film we’re talking about here.
The film’s doing well, reviewers like it as much as they probably would given the fact that it’s a desultory heist film, and it could launch Kaling as a legitimate Hollywood star. But it’s all the fault of white men that people don’t regard “Oceans 8” as a if it were a Herzog film.
I’m not quite sure how to respond to that other than to ask Kaling whether she saw her own movie. I probably won’t, but I guess that’s just because I’m a perfidious caucasian male.
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