Director: Chris Addison
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp, Ingrid Oliver, Dean Norris, Nicholas Woodeson
Runtime: 1 hr 34 mins
Rating: NC16 (Sexual References)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 9 May 2019
Synopsis: A remake of the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in which two down-and-out con artists engage in a "loser leaves town" contest.
The Hustle is the latest female centered movie to arrive at the big screen after the all-female reboot of Oceans 8 and Ghostbusters. Let’s just say the final product is not going to make internet trolls any happier.
In short, the story of The Hustle is a reboot of the 1998 comedy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Steven Martin and Michael Caine. Never mind you have never heard or watched the original but the updated version pulled a gender-switch by having Rebel Wilson playing the Martin role while Anna Hathaway plays the role performed by Caine.
On the wealthy French Riviera lives a sophisticated con-woman by the name of Josephine (Hathaway) whose daily routine of conning rich stupid old men is interrupted by the arrival of small-time crook, Penny Rust (Wilson). Rather than subjecting herself further to Josephine’s tortures and humiliation, Penny demands to be Josephine’s partner instead of being her student. Thus, the only way to settle their score is for either one of them to win a bet that is to win the affection and most importantly, half a million out of the pocket of a young techy millionaire, Thomas (Alex Sharp).
If you have seen the original, the meat of the plot remains unchanged except all the original funny gags have been swapped with rather poorly unimaginative ones. And if you have been following the trailers, that “garbage bag” gag is the only sole saving grace which obviously have been spoiled by the marketing team. That is actually saying a lot for a movie that runs at a slim 94 minutes.
Essentially, The Hustle is filled with Wilson’s usual boob, fat and sex jokes which honestly goes flat after 15 minutes and as a producer here, she is ironically doing the opposite of trying to make a movie that showcases the power of woman. Her trademark free-wheeling and deadpanning her way through is just not worth the price of admission with a sequence (sounds pretty funny on paper) that requires her to go “blind” ended up rather pointlessly.
At least, Hathaway tries hard to be funny but ended up being too campy to be ticklish despite her best attempts to put on several phony accents and persona. Hathaway might be a good actress but she is never a comedienne. Still, she looks amazingly gorgeous in stilettos, fake wigs and a wide range of designer dresses and costumes. Sad to say, it’s a wrong pair up although both ladies have strengths of their own.
“No man will ever believe a woman is smarter than him.” It’s indeed a smart statement for Josephine to proclaim. The Hustle struggles every minute of screentime to modernize, update the relevancy of today’s world but with the highlight of the entire swindle being Hathaway feeding Wilson with a French fry dipped in toilet water then unfortunately, the social commentary has failed tremendously.
(Works better for streaming, in fact Wilson manages to pull off a fast one in real-life for MGM to put in the money for this disastrous remake)
Review by Linus Tee