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The Hustle

The Hustle: You’ve Just Been Conned

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  • Alex SharpAnne Hathaway...
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  • Chris Addison
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The Hustle: You’ve Just Been Conned

If you see a trailer with Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway in a comedy con artists feature, you are probably going to watch that movie because how could it not be awesome? But, my friend, you’ve just been conned.

The Hustle follows Australian small-town con woman Penny (Rebel Wilson) who executes small scale, partially improvised plays to con men out of their money. After one of her plays goes bad, Penny travels to France, and on her way, she meets expert British con woman Josephine (Anne Hathaway). After seeing Josephine’s elaborate tricks, Penny becomes her apprentice. But soon enough they are competing for the money of a tech billionaire which has them quickly turning on each other.

This movie concept has been done more than once over the years, and The Hustle bares undeniable resemblance to a 1988 production called Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

While the plot isn’t that surprising, the film is funny, mainly due to the talented cast’s efforts as barely any effort seems to have been put into creativity.

The film starts with funny scenarios that Penny makes for her plays. Creativity only pops up again when Josephine is training Penny with a group of plays they pull off together called Lord of the Rings. But, other than these brief moments, there is a whole lot of unused room for creativity that just goes to waste to leave room for mediocrity, specifically in the film’s second half where the pair pick a mark and compete.

Another missed opportunity is women as con artists; the film provides segue way to how women are constantly underestimated because no man will ever think a woman is smarter than he is and that is great for a con artist. However, the two con women turning on each other and fighting for the attention of a man, even if it is to dupe him out of his money, undermines the entire concept.

For the acting, Rebel Wilson was as funny as ever and used the too few opportunities that the dialogue gave her. Wilson was able to make the film so much funnier than it is on paper as she made every hilarious moment seem completely spontaneous. Anne Hathaway also showed off her acting chops in a less hilarious but just as accomplished manner. Hathaway impersonates several characters with different attitudes and accents, and she nails every performance.

Even though it never really catches fire and only sizzles with comedy, The Hustle is still an enjoyable comedy feature with a hugely talented cast.


Like This? Try

Sisters (2015), Easy A (2010), Snatched (2017), Ocean's 8 (2018).

360 Tip

Because the film's PG-13 rating was originally an "R," Rebel Wilson had to go out and argue with the board that the film was no raunchier than similar comedies that had received PG-13 ratings featuring male actors. Her efforts prevailed.

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