Two of Hollywood’s newer comedic actresses’ team up for this re-make of the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. This one swaps out the male gender for female (in the hopes of being a female “power” kind of comedy), but falls a little bit flat in its execution. Still, that’s not to say The Hustle isn’t a fun time because it is. In the opening we meet Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson), a small time grifter who swindles men with a fake dating profile followed by a sob story involving a fake sister.
Needing to skip town for a while, Penny meets Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway), a woman with a knack for the long – and more importantly the big, con. Josephine knows what men want, a vulnerable woman, and she builds her work on this philosophy. What she doesn’t want in her small town is the addition of Penny. The place just isn’t big enough for the two of them. Which is why they make a plan; one of them has to best the other, and the first to win the bet must leave.
The Hustle (2019) Film Review
Sometimes films have one purpose, and that’s to entertain. This is certainly true of The Hustle. It’s not that it’s not entertaining; it’s just that it’s not all it could be either. I always enjoy a good con movie (like the contemporary Ocean’s 11 franchise or one of my favorites, The Italian Job), so that aspect of this film really appealed to me. The genre is such a favorite that I did plan to see this at the box office. That didn’t happen, and on reflection, I’m glad.
The film starts off on the right foot with an adorable opening title sequence (sometimes I miss these), and sets into motion a fun albeit not unique plot. I think The Hustle’s entire premise fails at what it primarily sets out to try and be. To say more would reveal spoilers, and in an effort not to do this, I won’t say more. But I still needed to say this, even if it is in a non-specific way. Beyond this, sure, The Hustle can be fun. It’s always a pleasure to see Anne Hathaway in something new (who I suspect all of us “know” from Disney’s The Princess Diaries). Rebel Wilson continues to make a name for herself as a comedic actress who seems comfortable with the role.
The interaction between them is usually fun though at times I do think the character of Josephine is a little too “aggressive” in her con play acting. (All of which is always aggravated by Wilson’s Penny.) When the story is fun, it’s really fun, but then these moments of silliness crop up and kind of takes a viewer out of the story. To be fair, I’ve liked many a silly film (and can think of one recent one I thought was quite fun), but I think I expected this one to be a better balance than it is.
If you want something fun to stay in with over the weekend, The Hustle isn’t bad. Contrary to my so-so review, it does spark some laughs, and the idea of the script is a good one. The locales are stunning as is Hathaway’s upscale wardrobe. In the end, as long as there’s some laughs for a Saturday night in, I don’t mind the missteps.
(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Read the disclosure page for details.)You can find The Hustle (2019) digitally on Amazon Video. This is a Female Comedy Con of an Adventure: ‘The Hustle’ (2019) Review. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson co-star in this #comedy. Click To Tweet
Content Note: This one has plenty of sexual jokes, crude and more of the allusion sort. Josephine tries to seduce someone. There’s also some profanity. PG-13 is the (amended) rating.
Photos: Universal Pictures