THIRD time a charm, or a curse? After the Frank Sinatra and George Clooney-led packs, Sandra Bullock and her all women co-stars are the latest crew to take on the heist thriller franchise in Ocean’s 8. They also come along in the wake of Ghostbusters 2, the widely slated, all women (yes, the two were connected) reboot of another beloved original.

It’s enough to make a woman wonder why she’s bothering, apart from the obvious. As Bullock replied when asked what made her say yes to Ocean's 8, “Lots and lots of money.”

Kudos to Bullock for her honesty, and for the part she plays in making Ocean’s 8 an entertaining enough jaunt. Not a triumph, but hardly the expected disaster either.

Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of the late Danny. Debbie is coming to the end of a five stretch inside, so naturally, being an Ocean, the first thing she does on being released is to recruit a crew for another job. No men are required. As Debbie tells her old pal Lou (Cate Blanchett), “a him gets noticed and a her gets ignored”. If only the rest of the screenplay by director Gary Ross and Olivia Milch been as savvy as that line.

Some of the team are more recognisable than others depending on your age, and a couple are standout. Rihanna (a pop star, m’lud) has movie star in her DNA and makes a snug fit as a hacker, while Helena Bonham Carter, playing an Irish fashion designer, comes close to matching Bullock for comic chops. Sarah Paulson rubs along well with Bullock, but Bullock and Blanchett fizz like damp fireworks. The team as a whole struggle to gel. You can’t believe they would hang out together for long, even if they do, in true girly style, transform their hideout into a cross between a college dorm and a boho chic hotel. You would not get guys doing that (I would have paid a lot, mind, to hear Sinatra and Dean Martin shoot the breeze about cushions).

Nor would men entertain a sub-plot about wreaking revenge on a lover who wronged one of the crew. That would rightly be dismissed as not cool. Yet it is wheeled out here, as though that’s just what women would do. Hell hath no fury, etc.

As far as plots go, moreover, the men in the Oceans films were given manly things to rob, like casinos. The women here have to fit a story around the annual New York dress up known as the Met Ball, where the guest of honour, actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) is to wear a necklace worth $150 million.

The plot conveniently allows for some famous brand name checks, including Vogue, whose editor, Anna Wintour, has a couple of appearances: once without her famous sunglasses, and once when she is required to pretend she is watching her beloved Roger Federer on TV. I think it was supposed to be amusing.

Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, Hunger Games) keeps the action zipping along for an hour and a half. Half the fun of heist thrillers is the planning and execution. Ideally, the film would have cut and run there, but convention dictates we also hang around to show how it was done.

Cue the arrival of James Corden as an insurance investigator. Corden, like Paulson, strikes up a pleasing chemistry with Bullock and together they bring the film home. There is a lot of solid work here, but solid is not the main quality required in a heist thriller. As the other Oceans films showed, you need a lot of sparkle, too, and plenty of humour. Yet more attention is paid to making the heist credible than packing in the laughs. When you have comic talent like Bullock on board, why not make the most of such an asset? It all smacks of trying too hard to be taken seriously.

Then again, the Oceans films have always been better in the imagining than the reality. There is something about all that star power that inevitably fails to live up to expectations. At least in that the women in Ocean's 8 have matched the men.