Rob Reviews "The Hustle"
You know what I don’t really need? “The Hustle”. And that hurts me type.
When you tell me that I am getting a film with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson playing con women, I am already intrigued. Even to tell me that this is a role-reversal remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” did not deter me from having a fair amount of interest in it. I didn’t even need to see a trailer or anything; let’s just DO THIS.
It’s the South of France, and small time con woman Lonnie (Wilson) spends her time swindling vulnerable and loosely morale-d men out of their money. Deciding to take her business to Europe, she runs into Josephine (Hathaway) on a train, neither one of them realizing that the other is in the same business at first. When Lonnie winds up in Josephine’s town, the latter does everything she can to get rid of the former, but then joins forces with her on larger cons until a rift turns into a wager to be the first to get $500,000 out of a tech billionaire named Thomas (Alex Sharp, known for his role on Broadway in “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time,”… keep that in your brain for a nice Easter Egg).
Modifying a conversation from one of my favorite “Pinky and the Brain” episodes, this film ain’t half bad, but it ain’t half good either. Relying on cheap jokes that only worked the first time around because it was not only thirty-one years ago, but also was done by Steve Martin and Michael Caine. While Hathaway and Wilson have proven in the past that they can handle comedy, there is just nothing new here for either one of them, with Wilson just playing a new version of her character in the “Pitch Perfect” films and her counterpart re-channeling a slicker Mia Thermopolis, perhaps using this role to prepare for the next “Princess Diaries” film (which we are told is coming).
I may have chuckled a couple of times during this film’s one hour and thirty-five minute run time, but not nearly on the level that I thought I would. Perplexed by the level of engagement around me at the screening I was at, I wondered if I was just simply missing something or not. There is even a strange level of “girl power” that doesn’t truly flesh itself out by the story’s resolution (and if you know the original, you know where I am going here), which many will find as setting empowerment back a bit over furthering it. Seriously, spend your money elsewhere unless a showing of this is included in what you already pay for another service, if even that.