The Hustle is a 2019 remake of the 1988 slapstick comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin as competing scam artist. This time around it’s Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in the roles of the scam artists. They both compete in a competition to see which of the two can swindle money from their next target, with the loser leaving town.
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are two talented actresses with experience in a variety of roles, both of whom have a place in the comedy scene. These two contrasting personalities come together here to make for a quite entertaining duo that deliver a number of comedic moments. Hathaway is Josephine, the wealthy British con artist whereas Wilson is Penny, the more small-time Australian con artist and they both suit their respective roles. Hathaway adopts a British accent for the entire film and it’s pretty accurate. It can be a distraction in the beginning but you get used to it. Just be grateful she doesn’t adopt her Australian accent for the entire film as it’s not great. The two of them are in most of every scene in the film and their constant back and forth is the life and soul of this movie. The comedic moments between these two are effective, and even when the jokes don’t hit there isn’t a dull moment as these two bring plenty of energy to the story and their characters.
A lot of the comedy rests on Wilson’s shoulders and she delivers with her typical over-exaggerated style of humour. Hathaway does contribute too with a more subdued and witty approach to humour in line with her character who has a pretty stiff personality. The film also stars Alex Sharp as the main subject of the girls’s cons and he’s okay. He’s in quite a bit of the film but doesn’t really contribute to the humour as much as he contributes to the story. He’s not a very likeable character, not particularly funny, and not someone who I particularly responded to. He’s got a handful of good scenes but his character is taken in an odd direction that was jarring in relation to the rest of the film.
The story itself is alright, although the humour and the antics between Hathaway and Wilson are really what drive the plot forward. The pacing is all over the place for this entire film, which is a bit of a surprise since it’s only an hour and a half long. The main plot doesn’t kick in for a while, or what feels like a while, as the first act is a collection of shorter shenanigans featuring Hathaway and/or Wilson. It then slows momentarily getting into the second act while it sets up the main competition and the stakes. It’s pretty smooth sailing through to the climax where unfortunately it completely loses it. There are some story turns late in the story that were quite jarring and ended the film on more of a sour note than a good one.
Aside from the poor ending, The Hustle is a decently fun ride with Hathaway and Wilson both the highlights with their back and forth chemistry carrying most of every scene. It’s nothing special and would be better suited as a film you catch at home on Netflix, but if you’re a fan of these two actresses, theres enough to look forward to.