The Hustle

Remake Flameout


10 May 2019| No Comments on The Hustle     by Sean Chavel


If you’ve seen “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988) somewhat recently, you might have noticed what a suave caper it is and what a polished game of confidence it plays, in spite of its broad slapstick nature.

In the women in roles of men remake “The Hustle,” the chicanery is too loud, too conspicuous, too in the moment slapdash, too blustery and hardly the calling card of seeming con artist professionals. Anne Hathaway is untouchable in her elegance, and is clearly having a delectable time wearing world class apparel. But her unwanted sidekick Rebel Wilson clashes too crassly, and every line or movement too much of a slobbish multiple exclamation point with her.

The pre-credits con is already a groaner, a stab at bilking a guy for pay out for a lovely sister’s boob job whom he has never met (and the con doesn’t even work). Sinking low comedy-wise, I already felt half-defeated putting up with a movie that had barely begun. It then retreads scenes on a Euro train from the 1988 Michael Caine / Steve Martin small classic in a clunky way. “The Hustle” had nowhere to go for me but up, not unless it wanted to remain at 1-star from me.

But it does perk up — marginally. Wilson has a goody of a time with props such as a knife-throwing scene or a blind walking cane, and she became more tolerable as the movie went by. And Hathaway, easily the main draw of the movie, has a giddy time adopting new accents for each mark, and she carries on glamorously when she’s cutting away at men’s pride.

The main mark of the movie is a tech billionaire played by an admittedly terrific Alex Sharp, who is a bashful Zuckerberg in a hoodie type who comes off like he’s never made it to first base with a woman before. He’s so gullible he’s a delight, honestly. He’s also too much of a lightweight target for a movie like this, even if he is a tech head wunderkid. Where’s a posh Nikolaj Coster-Waldau or Alexander Skarsgaard for a movie like this?

“The Hustle” is an abbreviated rehash of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” — itself a remake of “Bedtime Story” (1964) with Marlon Brando and David Niven — and that makes it at once merciful that it’s short at 94 minutes, but also a reminder that a really effective con movie takes a few extra beats in its bamboozling passages so we can digest the enticement and the sting of the swindle that’s happening before our eyes. “The Hustle” is mostly a cheap boob job.

94 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Bedtime Story” (1964); “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988); “Heartbreakers” (2001); “Ocean’s 8” (2018).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


There are No Comments about this post

Add Yours!

You must be logged in to post a comment.