By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
When the studios screen movies for press on the same night, I often must flip a coin to determine which one I’m going to attend, unless it’s a big-time release. Then it’s easier.
But last week, I had to decide between the comedies “Poms”--which stars Diane Keaton and the legendary Pam “Foxy Brown” Grier”-- and “The Hustle” with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.
I wanted to see both, but chose, “The Hustle.”
It was a good call because it’s pretty funny. Not sidesplitting funny as I had hoped, but fun and funny, nonetheless.
Directed By Chris Addison (TV’s Patriot”),
“The Hustle” is a female-centric remake of the 1998 film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” which starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine. Actually, that movie was a remake of the 1964 film “Bedtime Story” which featured Marlon Brando, Shirley Jones and David Niven.
In “The Hustle” Anne Hathaway (“Ocean’s Eight”) plays Josephine Chesterfield a beautiful, wealthy socialite living it up on the French Riviera (Michael Caine’s old role). The only thing she needs to work on is her phony accent.
Everything else about her is pitch perfect which is why most men simply can’t resist her. Before they know what hit them, they’ve lost their jewelry, money and whatever other valuables she’s able to squeeze from them.
Then along comes Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson, “Isn’t it Romantic”), a low life grifter who has a surprising chance encounter with Josephine (Hathaway). She’s immediately taken by Josephine’s style and grace and wants to roll like her and get in on some of her big money-making action.
Josephine can’t be bothered with trash like Penny. Hanging out next to to this spandex and polyester diva is just an overall bad look. But Josephine reconsiders her stance, when Penny threatens to go to the police and blow her cover. So, they make a deal. The first one that can swindle a young, Internet tycoon (a miscast Alex Sharpe, “To the Bone”) out of $500,000 wins free and clear. The other must go away for good.
Let the con games begin.
The hijinks that ensue, include everything from bathroom humor, and lots of physical comedy with Wilson carrying many of those scenes. Most are over the top even for her. She seems to be working extremely hard to pull them off too. One involves Wilson with Hathaway and a wealthy Texan (Dean Norris, TV’s “Claws”). It becomes more embarrassing than funny.
Wilson held her own in the comedy, “Isn’t it Romantic” last year and Hathaway delivered in “Ocean’s Eight,” but in “The Hustle” their comedic timing isn’t as sharp and doesn’t always click like it should. But once these cons start to con each other, that’s when “The Hustle” is on.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Check Out This Trailer For "THE HUSTLE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.