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They say it’s all in the timing, especially when it comes to funny business. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t have an ounce of substance to it, and when there’s only a half-hour or so left, it feels like nothing has happened at all.

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the hustle movieThey’re giving Dirty Rotten Men a run for their Money. Wilson stars as Penny, who we first meet as she is catfishing a man on a date and turning the entire situation around to get him to give her money. She has made a moderate living as a hustler, making up stories to tell strangers for them to give her money. Penny packs her bags and heads to the South of France, where she manages to pull off a con on the train. Her efforts are overheard by Josephine (Hathaway), a high stakes con artist. Together they team up to take down a tech guru, but not without clashing along the way.

Josephine Chesterfield is a glamorous, seductive Brit with a sprawling home in Beaumont-sur-Mer and a penchant for defrauding gullible wealthy men from all corners of the world. Into her well-ordered, meticulously moneyed world bursts Penny Rust, an Aussie who is as free-form and fun-loving as Josephine is calculated and cunning. Where Penny amasses wads of cash by ripping off her marks in neighborhood bars, Josephine fills her safe with massive diamonds after ensnaring her prey in glitzy casinos. Despite their different methods, both are masters of the art of the fleece so they con the men that have wronged women.

In the comedy The Hustle, two con women team up to take down the men who have wronged them. The two grifters have very different styles. One of the them is sophisticated, the other not so much. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star in this remake of the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

As with any classic recipe, what matters most is the execution. The financial stakes for Penny and Josephine and their marks may be high, but otherwise The Hustle” gambles with play money, risking a bit of sentimentality or wounded feelings here, a snarl of meanspiritedness there. Nobody is going to get hurt, but Hathaway and Wilson make decent sport of it.

Tired of making ends meet with low-rent scams, Penny sets her sights on bigger and better things, in this case the French Riviera town of Beaumont-sur-Mer, which she’s heard is rife with rich men behaving badly. The problem is, Beaumont-sur-Mer already has a resident con artist: Josephine (Anne Hathaway), a high-class scammer with a suspect accent, and impeccable taste. Instantly at odds, the two soon realize they both have things to learn from each other. And to keep things interesting, they make a bet: whoever can extract $500,000 from a sheepish tech millionaire Thomas (Alex Sharpe) gets to stay in town and keep milking the fat cats. The loser gets out of dodge.

The Glenne Headley role — the main rube — is a tech entrepreneur played by Alex Sharp. The British actor, who’s playing an American, is the only person not treating the movie like an overlong gag. He oozes sincerity as the women compete to rob him of $500K.

You see, Josephine is distinguished, skilled at her craft and prides herself on baiting men with profitable assets—assets that far exceed those of the men with whom Penny fraternizes. And Josephine doesn’t share—not her money, not her territory and definitely not her men.

If we didn’t charge as much for concessions as we did, the tickets to the movies would cost $20,” the CEO of Regal Cinemas, the nation’s second-largest theater chain, told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. In the hilarious new comedy THE HUSTLE, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them.

The Hustle is a gender-twisting remake of the hilarious Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), which, itself, is a remake of Bedtime Story (1964). Hathaway and Wilson are fun to watch, and the 93-minute movie is briskly paced, but it simply isn’t all that funny. Maybe I’ve seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels too many times, because, to me, nothing here is as side-splitting as Steve Martin’s scenes where he pretends to be the mentally deficient Ruprecht, or Michael Caine’s cruel therapy treatments for Martin’s character.

In The Hustle,” scheming con women Josephine (Anne Hathaway) and Penny (Rebel Wilson) bet one another that they can con a clueless techie billionaire (Alex Sharp) out of a large chunk of change while he’s vacationing in Europe. Hijinx ensue as these overly confident scam artists not only try to rip off a sweet-natured individual with a heart of gold but attempt to constantly one-up each other in the process.

This film was definitely written for Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson – they were perfect for their parts. It’s a very light go-to film just to be entertained. Nothing cerebral – just slapstick funny like the female versions of the Three Stooges – hilarious, crass and bawdy humour. My cinema was packed with women watching – girls just want to have some fun. I’d be surprised if they don’t come up with a Hustle 2 movie.

They’re giving dirty rotten men a run for their money. Starring Anne Hathaway and @RebelWilson Now on Blu-ray and Digital. Starring Rebel Wilson, Anne Hathaway, Tim Blake Nelson, Alex Sharp, Ingrid Oliver, and Emma Davies. Even with an enjoyably cheeky performance by Anne Hathaway at its disposal, The Hustle makes for a tedious repackaging of a fun comedic premise.

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For most movies, pacing is everything. A great film knows when to move and when to take its time, and how to use a runtime in an effective way to pull an audience in. “The Hustle,” the feature debut from director Chris Addison, chugs along at a rapid clip, which could provide a decent, diverting night out for people looking to escape. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t have an ounce of substance to it, and when there’s only a half-hour or so left, it feels like nothing has happened at all.

Penny initially gains the upper hand by pretending to be blind, something that Thomas could relate to because his grandmother was also blind. Josephine, however, pretends to be a prominent eye doctor to “treat” Penny using unorthodox methods as a ruse to get close to Thomas. Penny uses sympathy gained by a few women at the club to ambush Josephine in the bathroom while she spends alone time with Thomas, but she learns that Thomas is not a billionaire and that he intends to use the last amount of money he has for her instead. She tells Josephine that the wager is off, obviously having developed some feelings for him. Josephine changes the wager of stealing Thomas’ money to stealing his feelings instead. To hold her up, Josephine tells the women Penny lied about being blind and they glue her hand to the wall.

The true antics of the movie kick in as the two protagonists clamber over each other to pursue a supposed tech billionaire, Thomas Westerberg (played by Alex Sharp). They try to out-scam each other and see who can take money from Thomas first. Next, they decide to up the ante and see who can win over the heart of Thomas, consequently making fools out of each other and themselves.

But there’s a hitch: the tech man, played by someone who looks like Mark Zuckerberg and speaks like a toddler, turns out to be nice. This gives Penny pause. (Why, I wondered? He is still rich). Soon we also learn that he only has $500,000 left to his name. This, in the movie’s universe, is apparently not rich. So then the movie becomes about trying to fuck Mark Zuckerberg instead of stealing his money. All of this recalculation—from stealing to fucking—turns out to have been beside the point because Mark Zuckerberg was actually conning them. Who cares, honestly.

Inspired by a travel magazine, she sets off to France, where, by chance, she meets Josephine Chesterfield, played by Anne Hathaway. Josephine has refined conning old men out of their excess capital into a science. She does her research, surveils her targets, and then hits them in their most psychologically vulnerable spots. From the moment she sees Penny on a train talking a guy out of a free dinner, she recognizes the game. Fearing an oversaturated con market in the hoity toity French Riviera town she prowls, Josephine tries to misdirect Penny. But the ugly American keeps coming back, and the two prideful con artists are off, trying to one-up each other for money, jewels, and bragging rights.

Josephine utilizes her police department accomplice, Inspector Desjardins (Ingrid Oliver), whose main role in the film is to absorb jokes about her presumed lesbianism, and her eye-rolling but dutiful manservant Albert (Nicholas Woodeson). Penny relies on nothing but her nerve until Josephine agrees to run some fresh cons with her. For some reason this involves training Wilson to curl her hair, sip champagne and practice knife throwing.

It’s a tough sell in some ways – the 1988 film is beloved and the story is highly demanding of the people in the leads. Hathaway and Wilson are both talented enough to make a lot of this stuff work, the truth is that there’s not that much there. There are some solid jokes and a couple of good slapstick set pieces, but it’s not enough. The fairly pedestrian script never reaches the manic comedic energy of its predecessor; Hathaway and Wilson are good, but not quite good enough to help this movie transcend a general sense of formulaicness.

The Hustle” is written by Jac Schaeffer, who wrote and directed the indie flick TiMER,” worked on the “Captain Marvel” script and cooked up the stand-alone script for Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow.” Her portfolio of work, then, is nothing to sniff at and one mediocre script shouldn’t derail an otherwise burgeoning career (certainly, it rarely derails men’s), but The Hustle” is a great example of why her audiences deserved more than a gender-swapped remake with but a few updated details.

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It’s a terrible, graceless, impossible scheme, made plausible only by the idiocy of her mark, which would still have to be world-historic in order for her to pull it off. But more crucially, it’s the first sign that The Hustle will fail to seduce the most important mark in any heist movie: the audience. The screenwriters can layer one double-cross after another, but if there’s no sense of elegance, sophistication and fun in the way a con film toys with expectation and pulls out the rug, then the con is doomed. And the cons don’t get that much smoother or smarter here than the fake-boob gambit.

If you’ve seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels you’ll already be familiar with the story’s twist. I was bracing myself for a twist on the twist that unfortunately never came. Like the slew of characters led down the garden path (sometimes quite literally) in the movie, I feel like The Hustle was all a big setup.

Penny is a small-time con artist who traps men into giving her money, whereas Josephine is a sophisticated con artist who cons the world’s richest men out of their money, whose idol is the legendary unknown con artist “Medusa”. The two con artists meet on their way to the French Riviera for the first time. Not willing to take any chance with any competition, Josephine has Penny is “arrested”, after which Josephine pays her bail and advises Penny to leave the country. Penny discovers that she was conned by Josephine but begs her to teach Penny her ways. Josephine and Penny execute a complicated con act against multiple rich men called the Lord of the Rings, stealing engagement rings. The plan works at the beginning, but after a while, Josephine refuses to pay Penny because she’s an apprentice. Penny and Josephine wager Penny’s entire networth of $500,000 using billionaire Thomas Westerburg, the creator of a tech app called YaBurnt, as their victim.

So what’s the cause of comedy death here? Wilson? Addison allowing Wilson to push too hard? Or perhaps it’s the script. Or the concept — no longer funny after all these years. The full answer would require more study than it’s worth, but on first glance, it does seem that with different actors in the lead roles, The Hustle” would have been better than it is.

And yet The Hustle flutters and sputters and all too quickly goes splat. Shot nearly two years ago and awaiting a release an unsuspecting public should have been spared, this femcentric remake of 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels drops Hathaway and Wilson into the con-artist roles played by Michael Caine and Steve Martin. Years before that, in 1964, David Niven and — wait for it — Marlon Brando played the same parts in Bedtime Story. No one would call either of those films a classic, but they had their moments. This version has only desperation. Any comedian will tell you: Don’t let them see you sweat. This movie damn near drowns in perspiration.

The mark this time is a young, Zuckerbergian tech millionaire (Alex Sharp). The Hustle” invents some new elements while relying heavily on set-ups from the earlier pictures. The primary screenwriter, Jac Schauffer, has every right to work her version the way she likes, and the way the project’s initiator, producer and co-star Wilson, likes it.

On the most basic level, “The Hustle” doesn’t work because it really isn’t funny. The jokes are overly contrived, and the movie bounces from one con to the next without any flow or structure to offset the distractingly pedestrian comedy. The scenery might be nice, but “The Hustle” feels like nothing short of a con.


Once they’re forced to work together, Lonnie takes on the Steve Martin role and plays Josephine’s sister; at one point, she dresses up like a medieval princess with very bad teeth who lives in a tricked-out cell in their home’s basement, along with her court” full of mannequins. When they meet a sweet-faced tech dude played by Alex Sharp, they switch tactics, with Lonnie pretending to be a hapless but sweet blind woman and Josephine as a doctor who specializes in hysterical blindness, leading to some particularly icky torments.


And yet, The Hustle never really gels to become more than a sum of its parts. Martin and Caine seemed to genuinely dislike each other, which gave Dirty Rotten Scoundrels an air of transgressive danger. Wilson and Hathaway seem like friends playing out a silly bet. They’re too comfortable, and too safe. I didn’t hate this movie, but the laughs never reached critical mass for me, either. Like What Men Want, it’s a gender flipped comedy remake that ultimately fails to rise to the quality of the onscreen talent.

Starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, this film is a remake of the 1988 film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Michael Caine, Steve Martin, and Glenne Headley. Newcomer Chris Addison directs these two leading ladies who are giving dirty rotten men a run for their money.

A fortnight later, Penny is leaving Josephine’s residence. Out of sympathy, Josephine gives her the money from their “Lord of the Rings” con acts. Their farewell is cut short when Thomas returns while in the middle of a con act against rich tourists in which he includes the two women. They reluctantly go along with his act but holds $2,000,000 against him before they trust him. Thomas suggest they work together to make even more money, which Josephine and Penny agrees to. They are then shown committing a successful con during Christmas holidays, getting along, with Penny and Thomas resuming their relationship.

The new con-artist comedy The Hustle,” starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, is a remake of 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with Michael Caine and Steve Martin. The two follow mostly the same framework — with a few major changes.

This time around, the two leads are from the same generation. And their screen stereotypes aren’t nearly as effective. Rebel Wilson (Penny) is basically playing the same sloppy-but-confident Fat Amy schtick from Pitch Perfect. It’s one-note, and she’s great at it. But it’s a schtick that works because she’s so brutally honest, not because she’s good at tricking people.

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