'The Hustle' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp, Dean Norris, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) is a glamorous, seductive Brit who defrauds gullible wealthy men. Penny (Rebel Wilson) amasses wads of cash by ripping off her marks in neighborhood bars.
Despite their different methods, both are masters of the art of the fleece so they con the men that have wronged women.
Wilson's talent for physicality and Hathaway's withering wit are a combustible combination as the pair of scammers pull out all the stops to swindle a naïve tech billionaire (Alex Sharp) in this hilarious comedy.
Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the know, the con artist comedy 'The Hustle' is a remake of the brilliant 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' with Michael Caine and Steve Martin; which was itself a remake of 'Bedtime Story' with Marlon Brando and David Niven!
The lack of advertisement for this didn't leave me with high hopes. However, the movie was better than expected. Still, it was also a pale imitation of DRS.
The movie's biggest issue is that the plot from it's predecessor is basically replicated point-by-point. Everything is too expected. The reason DRS became more entrenched in public memory than Bedtime Story was because it was willing to take the story on a different trajectory.
I mean the general idea of two con artists competing over a mark is a general idea that could've been reinvented in multiple ways. They could have at least changed geographic locations. If you haven't seen DRS, you'll probably get a lot more entertainment value out of this.
Rebel Wilson plays the Steve Martin/uncouth, small-time con artist role. The problem is that the film relies too much on her. It's clear, that a good portion of filming involved director Chris Addison just having Wilson ad-lib.
When Wilson is funny, she is very funny. She can have such a delightfully sharp tongue. But she produces a lot of groaners, too. In fairness to Wilson, it was up to the director and editor to which material showed up on film.
Doesn't help that the actress' character and a lot of her material feels recycled from previous films. They try to make her character sympathetic in the end, but the character is so acidic the audience's empathy isn't earned.
Anne Hathaway fairs a lot better as the Michael Caine/classy and haughty con artist. Her posh British accent is clearly fake, but she's so committed to the role that I couldn't help enjoying it. (The same can't be said for another accent she uses later on though!)
She also has a great control of non-verbal mannerisms. The best difference between this and DRS is that unlike with Michael Caine's total straight man 'The Hustle' isn't afraid to knock Hathaway's haughty character down a peg and make her the butt of the joke at times.
It's fun to see the character's rare moments where she loses her temper and drops all sense of control and class.
Alex Sharp plays the mark, and I'm afraid the character isn't very interesting or really leaves much of an impression.
I know I have a lot of complaints about this film, but the reason I didn't give this a complete raspberry of a review is because when it was all said and done I didn't have a that bad of a time!
I mean, when it's funny, the movie is very funny. Oh, and it also doesn't hurt that since this is set in the French Riviera, the whole thing looks nice too!
This is by no means a great movie, but I didn't finish the film feeling cheated either. Thing is that I can see some people really liking or disliking this. I say take a chance and you might just surprise yourself!
In some of the additional Special Features, we get a quite brilliantly revealing one in Hitting the Mark where the production team show the plans behind the film: from Anne Hathaway’s initial discussions with Jac Schaeffer and Rebel Wilson about updating the story for a modern era to Chris Addison’s collaboration with the cast to craft the comedy on set.
Another great one is the Comedy Class featurette which showcases every actor in the film bringing a very different comedic style to their roles. This comic clash also helps sell the conflict between Josephine, Penny, and the other characters in the film, of course. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Includes Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy of 'The Hustle'
Hitting the Mark Featurette
Comedy Class Featurette
Con Artists Featurette
Feature Commentary with Director Chris Addison
Official 'The Hustle' Website
Official 'The Hustle' @ Facebook
Official 'The Hustle' Trailer