Can The Hustle con its way to box office success?

The Hustle is the kind of movie that you watch once and never again, even though you don’t have a totally terrible time. Starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as leading ladies Josephine Chesterfield and Penny Rust, the film follows the two young women in their pursuit of the con.

Though both women have the same goal, the two are polar opposites. Josephine is a British, elegant, bourgeois big-time player of the game, whereas Penny is far more kooky, carefree and cumbersome. After an initial altercation, Josephine takes Penny under her wing, teaching her the more polished ways of the con.

Directed by Chris Addison, The Hustle is one that falls sorely flat. On its face. Hard. There we were, all waiting in excited anticipation for a comical feminist film to rain down yet another blow against the patriarchy, only to be left sitting in stale disappointment at the lacklustre flop of it all. In remaking the 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Addison pulled a classic Ghostbusters move and flipped the gender of the leads and this gender swap hasn’t worked out in The Hustle’s favour.

Rebel Wilson plays herself, as she always does, now that that is what she has been typecast to do. Though she does make for a good laugh, it seems to be the same good laugh that we have seen so many times before, in every single film where she plays the same loud, crass Australian who can sing. I can’t say that I care much for Anne Hathaway’s faux British accent either, though her superior intelligence and the way that she outwits men is admittedly quite entertaining. The pair’s chemistry also feels as though it is missing something, like relatability or truth.

Set in the French Riviera, there isn’t much excitement in the way of location or costuming. It’s all a bit vanilla, really, with nothing to make The Hustle stand out from its predecessor, or from any other subpar film. The plot twist that arises towards the end, though reasonably unexpected, leaves a feeling of deflation upon its reveal. Women in power? Apparently not.

Overall, it’s just a ‘meh’ kind of a movie, one that you might smile at upon remembering but likely wouldn’t recommend to others, ever. 

Reviewed by Maya Dodd.

2 stars
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