The Hustle is Hardly a Movie

The Hustle is a skeleton, a bare-bones script that barely follows the formulaic beats of a studio comedy. That might sound like a good thing, like a subversive anti-formula romp. No, this hollow riff on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a hop, skip, and a jump from looking like an extended short film, and a bad one at that. The Hustle is in a hustle to rip through every page in the book, particularly that one thing the entire film hinges on: the bond between Anne Hathaway’s expert, upper crust English con and Rebel Wilson’s low, down, and dirty American con. We’re supposed to believe a single, unfunny training montage is the difference between frenemies and friends. Wilson and Hathaway do their best to ring a few laughs out of perfunctory dialogue and nearly witless banter, but they too suffer. Suddenly, Rebel Wilson’s career is looking iffy and Hathaway is in danger of falling victim to the dreaded post-Oscar curse. The Hustle is the clear result of Hollywood’s obsession with turning IP into pablum, no matter how unnecessary or ill-advised. Who asked for a gender-bend remake of the Michael Caine classic? Shareholders who won’t risk a dime on original content or new endeavors.

Grade: D

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