Review: The Hustle Is Hilarious, Escapist Cinema
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson mix well in an ode to classic Hollywood.
Odd couple chemistry is a tricky formula to get right. Many comedies have attempted it, but The Hustle succeeds. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson play dueling con artists with affably opposite personalities; Hathaway is frosty and decadent, and Wilson is blunt and game.
Together, they make The Hustle one of the most straightforward comedies in recent memory. The duo star as con artists Josephine (Hathaway) and Lonnie (Wilson) who run scams on men they find susceptible or revolting.
It feels like classic Hollywood, because it is. The Hustle is a remake of the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which was a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story. This practically makes it the A Star Is Born of comedies.
Hathaway plays it straight while Wilson improvises off clever dialog written by Jac Shaeffer. Rapid fire jokes had the audience laughing constantly. The movie’s weakest points are scenes where the two stars are separated. A bit of the magic is lost there.
Josephine changes outfits in every scene, serving a fashion show’s worth of looks. From Gucci belts to Christian Louboutin shoes, and all the chic dresses con money can buy, it’s a marvel to look at. Lonnie goes the opposite route, wearing graphic tees that got big audience laughs.
The Hustle is absurd, but self-aware. There’s a sequence where Lonnie makes several rich suitors run away after gifting Josephine large engagement rings. Such absurdity culminates in a somewhat jumbled ending that could have had a better setup and execution, but overall it makes for an enjoyable time at the movies.
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