Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp
Director: Chris Addison
Running Time: 94 mins
The Hustle is an American film about a streetwise con artist who unites with a high-rolling international swindler, as they attempt to defraud the men who have wronged them.
Neither a mindlessly entertaining romp nor the empowering and provocative genre movie it aims to be, The Hustle is a disappointing watch through and through, with predictable and underwhelming performances, a dull and messy story, and big laughs very thin on the ground.
However, let’s briefly start with the positives, the biggest of which comes in the form of how the movie looks. Although it doesn’t quite capture glamour in the same vein as other modern grifting films like American Hustle and Focus, it does at least have a degree of enjoyably extravagant wealth on display, from lavish evening gowns to gorgeous million-dollar apartments on the Riviera.
Saying that, however, there’s little else to The Hustle that really catches the eye. First and foremost, it’s a throwaway Hollywood comedy, yet the vast majority of its gags and laughs fall flat on their faces throughout, either because they’re too predictable or just a little too weak.
This isn’t the enjoyably risqué female version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels that it clearly wants to be, and along with two very generic performances from Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway – both entirely typecast – the movie is a very lukewarm, underwhelming watch throughout.
What’s more, that sense of underwhelming humour and energy has a major impact on the film’s fleeting attempts to offer a little bit of female empowerment in the form of its two characters fighting back against the men who have wronged them.
While the movie definitely isn’t meant to be taken seriously, there was something really disappointing to me about how it misses the mark in that frame of empowerment, letting slip the only opportunity to give the film a more striking, unique streak alongside its more generic comedic vibes.
In the end, Wilson and Hathaway’s characters do little to stand out as strong female leads, ultimately chasing around after men in a far more predictable and traditional story than I’m sure was the intention here.
As a result, there’s not all that much to write home about The Hustle. It’s an easy, throwaway watch, but it rarely makes you laugh, and the lead performances are both predictable and underwhelming throughout. Its story is never as risqué nor provocative as it seems to hope, and it does little to go beyond what is a fairly superficial attempt at female empowerment. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.0 overall.