“The Hustle” stars Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp, Tim Blake Nelson, and Dean Norris. Released on May 10, 2019, the film has two con women competing against one another.
The film features the directorial debut of Chris Addison, who is known for directing the HBO sitcom, “Veep”. It is a remake of the 1988 film, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, which is itself a remake of the 1964 film, “Bedtime Story”. It’s not uncommon for Hollywood to remake or continue a film franchise that is deemed a classic by big-time film critics, but remaking or continuing it with a female cast is a different story. From the controversial “Ghostbusters” reboot to “Ocean’s 8”, the folks from Hollywood will do what they can to keep their beloved franchises going while adding a female twist along the way. While this latest comedy isn’t particularly a remake or a continuation of a certain franchise with a female cast, it’s still a female-centered remake of something. Rebel Wilson started off 2019 on an average note with a romantic comedy that pokes fun at romantic comedies, and it looks like she’s continuing her post-Pitch Perfect year by headlining a comedy remake with her co-star Anne Hathaway. What should’ve been a fun and endearing “girl power” laugh-fest turned out to be far less than what I expected it to be.
The film’s plot centers on two con artists. One that is free-wheeling (Wilson) and one that is cunning and sophisticated (Hathaway). They made a bet with one another to see who can be the first to con an internet millionaire…and that’s about it. There’s no moral to the story, no in-depth moments that drive the characters, and no complexity. It’s just a simplistic “girl’s night out” comedy that only exists to make people laugh. Problem is, it focused far too much on delivering forced humor rather than making the story as fun as the concept. It’s like the film had absolutely no idea what it wants to do with the cast and the plot and decided to just wing it. Sometimes, winging it can only get a film so far before it nose dives to the ground. “The Hustle” is a fine example of that situation. What made it worse was that the humor was very forgettable and lazy. The only scene that made me laugh was when Rebel Wilson’s character accidentally shot Hathaway’s character’s butler. Other than that, it was…meh. I also thought the main characters were bland and not as interesting as they should be. They’re just two women trying to embarrass one another, and it got old pretty darn fast. The only bright spot was Anne Hathaway, who was able to provide some tolerable moments as Josephine, one of the con women. Rebel Wilson was obviously her usual self, which clearly didn’t help the film at all because her brand of humor was starting to wear thin after the first 10 minutes. Another flaw that I would like to point out is that the film liked to drag a little bit despite its running time being an hour and a half. There were certain jokes in the film that could’ve been shortened to move the story along. I would tell you what they were, but like I said before, they’re forgettable. That’s how I know that they’re not doing something right.
Overall, it’s easy for me to say that I got conned by a cruel mistress, and that mistress is none other than “The Hustle”. I can honestly admit that Anne Hathaway’s presence made the film watchable for me, but that’s hardly the case. It’s a dull and messy comedy that will easily make a fool out of everyone, especially those who are expecting more out of it. If you’re interested in seeing it because of the two main female leads, I would say wait until it’s on television. Otherwise, it’s not worth your time.