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‘Ocean’s 8’ Trailer Review: We’re Betting on Sandra Bullock’s Snappy Comedy

Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in Ocean's 8
Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in 'Ocean's 8.' 

Who needs George Clooney and Brad Pitt and the rest of Ocean’s Eleven when you’ve got Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Mindy Kaling?

And did I mention Cate Blanchett?

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The new trailer for Ocean’s 8 is finally here, which means we no longer have to cling to that single image of the actresses loitering on an empty subway car. The extended clip is nothing if not generous as we see Danny Ocean’s newly paroled sister (Bullock) round up a group of feisty and heist-y ladies for a new job. Their mission: Snatch Hathaway’s $150 million necklace at the annual ultra-glam Met Ball Gala in New York City. Simple enough. Plus, The Met Gala is just as inspired of a frenzied, high-profile set piece as a Las Vegas casino during a boxing match. Can’t blame Kaling for questioning, “Can’t we just go to this? Do we have to steal stuff?”

The cast of Ocean’s Eight
The cast of ‘Ocean’s Eight.’

The cast may be several shades different from Clooney’s ragtag crew but the movies seem like close relatives. We still get the dry, quick-witted sense of comedy — I don’t anticipate any goofy pratfalls — as well as snappy pacing and smart action sequences that hinge on sleight of hand. This talented, established cast will go on smoother than La Mer moisturizer.

The problem is that the superficial similarities invite people to snipe that Ocean’s 8 is a female-version of a franchise past its expiration date. (The middling Ocean’s Thirteen is already a decade old.) The controversy is like a predictable sequel to the 2015 news that Melissa McCarthy was going to lead a girl-powered version of Ghostbusters.

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Ghostbusters turned out to be a middling miss — because the story lacked an edge and it was too deferential to the 1984 Bill Murray original. This had nothing to do with the cast. It’s not fair to assume that Ocean’s 8 will follow the same pattern for the simple reason that it’s another female-driven comedy. Different cast, different director, different attitude. That’s like questioning why Marvel is making another Spider-Man movie in the wake of Justice League’s fail.

The cast of ‘Ocean's 8.‘
The cast of ‘Ocean’s 8.‘

Nobody is winning a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for any of these films. So what. Clooney’s entertaining Ocean’s Eleven is itself a remake of a 1960 Frank Sinatra/Rat Pack caper. Judging from the talent onscreen in Ocean’s 8, we have a crackling, delightfully escapist summer winner on our hands. I laughed more than a few times during this 150-second clip, and I’d wager, Vegas-style, that you did as well. Besides, Bullock hasn’t made a movie in three years. There’s no way the Oscar winner is coming out of hibernation to slum it in a lazy remake.

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(That said . . . I do bristle knowing that Ocean’s 8 and Ghostbusters were both directed by men. Gary Ross, who directed the first Hunger Games, takes the reins here for Steven Soderbergh. Please let Greta Gerwig get a handle on Ocean’s 9.)

Ocean’s 8 will be released June 8, one week after the sequel to Deadpool and a week before the sequel to The Incredibles. That’s mighty tough competition. My money is on the ladies.

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