Going into The Hustle, my main fear was that all the best parts would be shown in the trailer and I would leave feeling slightly disappointed. This seems to be an issue that’s becoming more and more frequent in comedy movies these days. The film stars Anne Hathaway, an actress I have adored since The Princess Diaries, and Rebel Wilson, known for her role as Fat Amy in the ever-popular Pitch Perfect series. Despite my doubts, I was curious to see how these very different actresses would work together and I made my way to the theater. I found myself pleasantly surprised, for the movie had some unexpected twists and turns, and thankfully, not all the comedic bits had been previewed in the trailer.
The Hustle, directed by Chris Addison and written by Jac Schaeffer, is a gender-swapped remake of the 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which is a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story. Even though the movie is a remake, I do not feel like that takes away from the originality and value of the movie in any way. It might be because I have not seen the two remake movies, but in my opinion, the movie does not feel like a remake. On the contrary, it seems fresh and the chemistry between the two co-stars is fabulous, they work well together.
Anne Hathaway nails her role as Josephine Chesterfield, a wealthy con artist who plays dumb in order to take money from unsuspecting rich men. Rebel Wilson plays Penny Rust, a scammer who nearly gets caught swindling men out of their coin and decides to bounce to a new town. She hops on a train and runs into Josephine, who tells her she admires the way she conned a man on a train. After they meet, Penny decides to continue her conning on Josephine’s turf. This is the start of the duo’s comedic gold.
I loved Anne Hathaway’s character, Josephine; she was cunning, changed to match the man she was trying to con, and easily manipulated situations to her advantage. Josephine had an edge of mystery to her, a fancy house, and an amazing fashion sense that made her seem glamorous and attractive. She was the mysterious cool girl that you wanted to be friends with. Anne Hathaway was able to pull this character off seamlessly. She was constantly changing her hair and outfits to match these personas that was created for the swindles. Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway seem like friends that enjoy messing with each other, and that translates to their characters. They are the perfect on-screen frenemy duo that mesmerizes you and leaves you wondering how far they will go and what they will do next. Rebel Wilson carries a good majority of the comedic moments with her character, Penny. Sometimes Penny is the butt of the jokes, while other times she serves to antagonize Josephine in a hilarious way. Penny seems to be the typical character Rebel Wilson plays; it is obvious that she has fallen into a certain typecast, but at least she seems to play that kind of character well.
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.
Thomas is the character who gives the movie a little more flavor. At first, he seems to be a simple character with one purpose: be the dumb, unsuspecting young guy who gives these hot scammer girls money. However, as the movie continues, we learn that he is more than that. He is the wildcard that changes the outcome of the competition and then changes the game again. The girls initially think the competition is with each other, but it is through this complication that they learn sometimes scamming is better done as a team. Alex Sharp’s character is not too complicated to portray. Sharp easily pulls off Thomas and makes the audience see exactly what they are supposed to see. Just like the girls, it is easy to genuinely believe Alex is an innocent, tech-loving young guy who just wants to share his innovative ideas with the world. We eventually learn that Alex is not what he seems and that he is just as conniving as the girls. I am impressed that I did not see the change in Thomas’s character coming, so kudos to Sharp for being able to do that and to the writers for making sure that it wasn’t super predictable.
Fans of Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect will likely enjoy this movie; her character is like that of Fat Amy, but with a cleverer, manipulative twist. Anne Hathaway’s accent in this movie is terribly butchered and might bother your ears a little, but it doesn’t take away from the movie. Other than her strange accent, she plays the character well. I love the outfits worn by the characters in the movie, not only are they fashionable, they even are joked about and add to the humor of the film. The scenes of Josephine training Penny to become more of a big-time scammer and of Anne Hathaway pulling out a few tricks to get what she wants gives it the clever, spy-like vibe. These girls are on a mission for their own personal gain and men are their chosen targets. Overall, there is not much depth to the movie, but it’s a good watch if you’re looking for something light and entertaining.
Featured Image: IMDb
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