Film Review: Predictable, Unfunny ‘The Hustle’ Has No Game

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CHICAGO – As the “Oceans Eight” remake of last year proved, it is simply not enough to redo a film and flip the gender focus. Anne Hathaway may be the kiss of death for this genre, as she appeared both in O8 and the current “The Hustle,” which in turn is a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988). Rebel Wilson, doing what Rebel Wilson does, portrays her sidekick. Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Hathaway and Wilson have little chemistry together, but that is the least of sins for “The Hustle.” Not only is the title lazy as hell, but the whole she-bang (ha) is flat and unfunny. It’s been years since I’ve seen the original – which was in itself a remake of the 1964 film “Bedtime Story” – but both those films must have more life than this tepid exercise in dreck. The screenplay credits list four names, a sure tip that the film we’re about to see is lost, but two of the names are of the original Dirty Rotten screenwriters (Paul Henning and Stanley Shapiro, both dead). The two hacks to blame are the very much alive, female Jac Schaeffer and male Dale Launer, although their screenplay is DOA. Both Hathaway and Wilson are only as good as their source material, and although they flog this story like the dead horse, they can’t save it. It’s 90 minutes of mostly empty air and leaden jokes, and they even have a man out-con them to boot (thanks to critic colleague Pam Powell for pointing that out).

Penny (Rebel Wilson) is a low end con artist, mostly trading on a man’s propensity to pay for a woman’s boob job (har-de-har-har). She decides to go to Europe to continue her game, and runs into Josephine (Anne Hathaway), who pretty much owns the con territory in that neck of woods. Penny begs Jo to help her learn more about her techniques, and in a painful montage, does just that.

After succeeding in their first con – with rich dudes dumber than our current President – they have a difference of opinion, and settle on a bet to negotiate it … 500K to the first woman that can con a Zuckerberg-type dot com millionaire (Alex Sharp) out of his ill-gotten gains. Faster that you can say Privacy Policy, our two licentious gals are trying to out-hustle each other.

“The Hustle” opens everywhere on May 10th. Featuring Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Tim Blake Nelson, Alex Sharp and Rob Delaney. Screenplay adapted by Jac Schaeffer and Dale Launer. Directed by Chris Addison. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Hustle”

Hair Twirl, Not Funny: Anne Hathaway & Rebel Wilson of ‘The Hustle’
Photo credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Hustle”

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