The Hustle: Review by @Kush_Hayes
When first seeing the trailer for the new female buddy comedy The Hustle, I reflexively called it out for what it was, a full on remake of the 1986 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. However I dont think Ill go into any real detective work as it really isnt trying to hide that fact. And they lean hard into remaking the Steve Martin and Michael Caine comedy directed by Frank Oz, setting in The French Riviera, with a young con artist being trained by a more experienced con artist as well as setting up a “Loser Leaves Town” competition.
And while all of this is true, none of this should be penalized. The new comedy starring Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway has been remade into a feature length film. Both of these movies are based on a 1964 Marlon Brando, David Niven and Shirley Jones comedy called Bedtime Stories. Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning are the original writers of this premise. In 1986 Dale Launer would be added to this list of writers, which carries on into 2019 and now adds, Jac Schaeffer who goes on to write the new Marvel Black Widow film after this. Now without having seen the 1964 movie, this 2019 feature is almost identical to the 1986 movie with the few details being obviously Ms Schaeffers alterations. And I mean very few alterations.
While I wouldnt compare Rebel Wilson to Steve Martin, her character is still the low level con artist, targeting shallow men, catfishing them, and taking as much as she can get from them while making a quick getaway. She has fluid comic timing with her written quips, but I feel like she ad libbed a few jokes that get overpowered by the crowd already laughing at an earlier joke. While Steve Martin also used a lot of physical humor for his role, he didnt repeatedly run into walls and door and flopping on his back hard.
Anne Hathaway swings for the fences with her straight (wo)man to Wilsons wild card and gets on base every attempt at humor. If you have to compare her character to Michael Caines, their performances really are neck and neck. Hathaway has perfect delivery and flawless reactions to having to continually deal with Wilsons imbecile nature.
The few weaknesses this movie has is motive, message and consistency.
I prefer the movie I grew up with, but doesnt mean I didnt enjoy this new version as well. And the crowd I watched this with tonight loved it.
This is a solid story that still holds up after 50 years and a perfectly fine modern comedy, as well as one of the few modern remakes that is really good.
Four out of Six Blueberries