'Ocean's 8' has some spark and dazzle

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie, the sister of master con man Danny Ocean (who was played by George Clooney). Debbie’s assemblage of her crack team for a jewel heist has its sly amusements.

Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros./AP
'Ocean's 8' stars (from l.) Sarah Paulson, Sandra Bullock, and Rihanna.

Not being the greatest fan of the “Ocean's” series – too much self-congratulatory buddy-buddyism and sloppily plotted skulduggery – I wasn’t foaming at the mouth to see “Ocean’s 8,” the female redo directed and co-written (with Olivia Milch) by Gary Ross. Although many of the same things I didn’t care for in the Clooney and Co. films have carried over into this one, the good news is that at least it’s not awful, like the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot. It has some spark and dazzle, at least until the last half hour or so, when it fizzles.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie, the estranged sister of master con man Danny Ocean (who was played by George Clooney). Released after five years in prison on a fraud charge, Debbie has spent her time in the clink wisely by devising a foolproof jewel heist. The prize: a Cartier necklace worth $150 million. The location: the annual Met Gala in New York City, where the necklace, accompanied by bodyguards at the ready, will be worn by the self-infatuated movie diva Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

Debbie’s assemblage of her crack team has its sly amusements, especially when Cate Blanchett, as Debbie’s hypercynical best friend, and Rihanna, playing a master hacker, show up. But Rihanna, along with Mindy Kaling, who plays a jewelry expert, are vastly underused, as is Awkwafina as a world-class pickpocket. On the other hand, hammy Helena Bonham Carter, as a cash-strapped fashion designer, is overused. Her hats are funnier than her dialogue. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for language, drug use, and some suggestive content.)

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