Fun, but not quite as slick as its predecessors, OCEAN'S 8 has a terrific cast, a decent story and falls just a bit shy of expectations.
Sandra Bullock is Debbie Ocean, sister of now deceased Danny (George Clooney). She's fresh out of prison and anxious to execute a complicated heist she's spent 5 years behind bars planning down to the finest detail.
As with Clooney's version of the Rat Pack and Sinatra's sixties gathering, half the fun is assembling the gang.
Cate Blanchett is cool & sexy as Ocean's partner in crime Lou, Mindy Kaling is fun as a larcenous and talented jeweler, Sarah Paulson has a gift for grand theft, Awkwafina steals the movie (as I hear she does in "Crazy Rich Asians" as well) and Rihanna is a hacker with attitude.
Throw in Anne Hathaway playing a huge movie star that suspiciously has all the traits Hathaway's often torched for in the press. She's clearly enjoying herself making fun of her own reputation.
Helena Bonham Carter brings all her signature oddness as a fashion designer who's part of the caper.
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) is terrific as a gallery owner whose stuck square in the middle of the past and the plan.
The big theft this time is an incredible Cartier necklace, to be lifted under the heavy media glare of the Met Gala.
With this cast, I just expected something a bit more clever. Once the gala starts and the caper kicks in, its enjoyable, funny and suspenseful, getting better as it goes.
But Bullock is given so little to do in an underwritten role as Ocean that its a crime in itself. She is overshadowed by many of her crew.
Director Steven Soderbergh brought strong visual style, rapid paced editing and effortless cool to the previous Clooney films. He's replaced here by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) who does a serviceable job, but never creates the same feel that the earlier films oozed.
Elliot Gould has fun reprising his role as Reuben from the last series, but another surprise appearance from a member of that crew mid-heist is simply thrown away.
It's fun enough, but this incredible group of women deserve better.
OCEANS 8 gets a B-