Chris Addison’s The Hustle is a remake of the 1988 comedy crime film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which itself is a remake of 1964’s Bedtime Story, with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson taking over the Michael Caine and Steve Martin roles respectively, whilst Alex Sharp plays the mark the two decide to scam.
The big problem with The Hustle is that the comedy largely doesn’t work, despite the tremendous talent involved with the film. Hathaway is obviously a wonderful actress, whilst Rebel Wilson has proven herself to be an excellent comic actor, but the material just isn’t there. The screenplay comes from four screenwriters, but sadly between them they only got two or three good laughs into the film, and for a comedy that really isn’t enough.
Especially because it leans far more into the comedy than the heist or con artist aspect of the film. The Hustle takes pretty much the same story from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with only a few minor tweaks to some of the details. That means that any element of surprise in the film’s twists is completely removed from the film, forcing the focus of the film to be on the comedy, which just doesn’t deliver.
It’s a shame that there’s nothing really new brought to the story of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels because it makes it feels as though there was little reason to do the remake outside of swapping the genders of the main characters around. It doesn’t use this to say or do anything different, meaning if you’ve seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels then there’s really no reason to watch The Hustle.
Maybe if you’ve never seen the classic comedies that The Hustle is based on then you’ll enjoy seeing this story of two grifters in competition, but for most this is just a waste of some very talented actors with too many jokes that fail to land with the audience.