The Hustle: Film Review

I’m not gonna lie, I thought The Hustle – a female version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – was going to be absolutely rubbish. My expectations were very low and it turned out to be better than I expected. That’s not saying much as it was still only OK.

Rebel Wilson takes on the role of Penny, a small-time Australian hustler (based on the Steve Martin character) who comes across Josephine (Anne Hathaway, in the Michael Caine role), a smart, sophisticated con artist who has made her millions tricking old men in Beaumont-sur-Mer on the French Riviera. After Penny figures out her game, she forces Josephine to teach her the tricks of the trade and they eventually go head-to-head in a competition to scam money out of a tech billionaire (Alex Sharp).

If you’ve seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels then you know exactly what’s coming. Other female-fronted remakes, such as Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8, heavily used the originals as inspiration but ultimately had a new storyline whereas this literally follows the same plot as its 1988 predecessor. The other issue is that I don’t think the original has aged particularly well. I watched it for the first time earlier this year and I went “Oooof!” a few times, particularly when the rookie fakes being disabled. Wilson pretends to be blind – whereas Martin pretended to be a paraplegic – but I’m sure some disability rights groups are going to kick off about it.

Bottom line is that The Hustle just isn’t funny enough. It made me laugh more than I expected to and there are some genuinely funny moments but these were few and far between. There wasn’t nearly enough to describe it as a successful comedy. I probably would have laughed more if I hadn’t seen some of the best bits in the trailer. It reeked of trying too hard and felt quite cringey at times and Wilson doesn’t always do it for me (in a comedy sense).

Hathaway was cast well and really suited her character. The British accent was all over the place but there’s an explanation for that so it’s all good. She looked fantastic and I wanted her wardrobe. Frankly, Hathaway deserves to be in better movies. She hasn’t had a great run of late – what with this, Serenity and Ocean’s 8 – and that is such a shame because she is capable of so much more. I do find Wilson funny but mostly in smaller doses, so I prefer her in supporting parts. She plays the same character in everything – she could literally be Fat Amy (from Pitch Perfect) here.

The general perception seemed to be that The Hustle was going to be totally crap and I’m here to tell you that it isn’t awful by any means and some critics are being overly harsh. It isn’t good – it is average, alright, OK – but it is an easy and fairly enjoyable way to spend 94 minutes.

In cinemas from Friday 10th May 

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