CRIME pays handsomely in a convoluted but effervescent caper, which continues the misadventures of the larcenous Ocean family from Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy.

Director Gary Ross’s stylish picture ditches George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s impeccably tailored brothers in arms for an all-female lead cast.

They plot an ambitious robbery in plain sight that subtly acknowledges seismic shifts in gender politics.

“A him gets noticed, a her gets ignored and for once we want to be ignored,” asserts Sandra Bullock’s criminal mastermind.

The loosely coiled plot, co-written by Olivia Milch, requires similar suspensions of disbelief to previous chapters but there’s a loopy logic to each narrative twist and our enjoyment stems from watching the pieces of an elaborate puzzle fall into place.

Elliot Gould and contortionist Shaobo Qin briefly reprise roles as members of the old guard but Ocean’s 8 stands tall and proud on its own stiletto-clad feet.

Danny Ocean’s younger sister Debbie (Bullock) emerges from a five-year stint at Nichols Women’s Prison with $45 in her pocket and revenge on her mind.

Her target is former lover Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), an art gallery owner who set her up for fraud.

Debbie’s plan is to frame Becker for the theft of ‘blingy, Liz Taylor jewels’ worth $150million which are set in a necklace that self-absorbed actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) is due to wear to the annual Met Gala fundraiser.

The gems will be closely monitored by a supposedly impenetrable security system.

So to achieve the impossible, Debbie assembles a crack crew from the wrong side of the law including best friend Lou (Blanchett), fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson), jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) and Irish fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter). Ocean’s 8 goes down smoothly as a freshly shaken Martini, set to Daniel Pemberton’s groovy score.

Bullock doesn’t need to flex her comic muscles, allowing Bonham Carter’s eccentricity and Hathaway’s diva to pickpocket big laughs alongside James Corden as a wily insurance fraud investigator, who has a long history with the Ocean family.

Ross’s direction doesn’t steal the limelight from an engaging cast, who are clearly enjoying themselves and their geniality is infectious.

RATING: 7/10