Monday, May 20, 2019

Movie Review: "The Hustle" (2019)

Director: Chris Addison
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Two con-artists make a bet and compete to see which of them can con half a million bucks from a tech entrepreneur to claim Beaumont-sur-Mer as their exclusive hustling turf.

Anne Hathaway Rebel Wilson The Hustle
"What are the signs of a stroke? I can't feel my tits." (Image Source)
Not every actor is suited for the comedy genre, even if they have been funny in the past. "The Hustle" (2019) is the feature film directorial debut of Chris Addison, who has directed 13 episodes of the amazingly hilarious HBO television comedy "VEEP." The screenplay is written by Jac Schaeffer and is a remake of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (1988), which was written by Dale Launer which, in turn, was a remake of "Bedtime Story" (1964) by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning. Much like before, the story revolves around two con-artists. Penny (Rebel Wilson) is a small-time Australian-born scammer who runs cons resulting in a few hundred dollars a pop. Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) is a high-class con-artist who operates out of Beaumont-sur-Mer in the French Riveria and runs scams that often result in six-figure payouts. When Penny shows up in Beaumont-sur-Mer looking to run her game, Josephine hatches a scheme to try and get rid of her. When that doesn't work out, the two make a bet about who can con $500,000 from a young tech entrepreneur named Thomas Westerburg (Alex Sharp) first. The winner will get to stay in Beaumont-sur-Mer, and the loser will have to leave town for good.
Anne Hathaway and Alex Sharp in The Hustle
"I have something in my pants, and I think you're going to like it." (Image Source)
"The Hustle" (2019) stays very close to 1988's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." It has the same premise and the same location, the characters have the same traits, the narrative plays out with the exact same beats, hell, even the jokes are almost identical with only minor variations. So, the big question is, what does "The Hustle" (2019) have to offer other than a gender flip? The answer is next to nothing. With zip to offer in the way of freshness, the hope then has to be that this version is at least funny enough to garner some laughs. The answer, yet again, is no no no. It just goes to show how crucial believable character chemistry is, and Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway just don't have any. Their performances feel forced, nay, coerced, and driven purely by the almighty dollar. Despite (probable) reports to the contrary, we feel like these two actors were likely held at gunpoint and forced to be in this film together against their will, that's how little we believe them as rivals-turned-friends-turned-enemies.

Beyond the two lead actresses not playing well off of one another, the material they have to work with is tortuously, dreadfully, and ruthlessly unfunny. There are maybe two instances in the entire film that made us chuckle, and both of those giggles came from the exact same scene. Just when we were starting to think Rebel Wilson was moving away from stale, self-deprecating fat jokes, here she is doing same tired old schtick yet again where she gobbles up everything in sight and constantly talks about how eating makes her have massive bowel movements that destroy toilets and plumbing systems. All of this is done while she pratfalls at an absurdly high rate and brags about her immense-but-sexless-sex-drive...because no one could ever love a fat person!!!1~11~~`~2_1 Most of the jokes Hathaway is required to deliver stem from the cringeworthy and over-the-top accents she does. She also abuses Rebel Wilson's Penny regularly, usually in the form of rubbing french fries in toilets and feeding them to her because, wait for it, she's pretending to be blind!! Class A comedy, gals!1! Oh, right, the long-winded, totally inappropriate blind joke that never seems to end! It's 2019, for f**k's sake! We're not being ~*sensitive,~* we're speaking out about how uncomfortable it made us. It's a downright terrible running "joke," and yet no one stopped it from happening. Everyone in front of and behind the camera allowed this joke to go on for no less than a third of the movie's runtime. It's regressive, ableist BS. It's not a good look for anyone involved, and it certainly ain't comical.
Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway in The Hustle
"I'm sorry, I don't speak foreign." (Image Source)
"The Hustle" (2019) sucks. We can't say we are disappointed because we didn't really expect much from this remake of a remake, but we never imagined it would be as excruciatingly unfunny as it is considering what the stars are capable of at their best. Avoid this one at all costs, even if it's free.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.2/10
RT Rating: ~15%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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