For those who are not aware, this film is a modern remake of the comedy film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). The original movie starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin in the leading roles. Now renamed “The Hustle”, this time the lead roles have flipped gender. Josephine (Anne Hathaway) and Penny (Rebel Wilson) are a pair of quirky female scam artists. The two are very different financially; upper and lower class; and personally. The two continually get on each other’s nerves when their scams keep conflicting with one another, leading to the two deciding to place a bet. The bet that is made is not an easy task, but naturally both accept—the first person who can receive $500,000 from a selected male wins. Throughout the film, the audience will witness the many attempts of our two leads to try and get the unknown male to either fall in love with them or feel sorry for them in hopes he will hand over the money.
As you would expect, Australian actress Rebel Wilson is relied upon to bring most of the gags, and she does achieve small grins and giggles, but some jokes land wholly flat and are just uncomfortable to watch. If you’ve seen a film with Rebel Wilson, you will generally know what to expect. Anne Hathaway’s character is more of a serious one as she is truly skilled in the art of scamming. Anne Hathway’s character also carries an accent for the whole film, and I honestly found the accent unnecessary. As for the comedy as a whole, the two generally worked well together even if the jokes are repetitive.
As for the main plot, it’s weak, and it saddened me that this film doesn’t bring anything new or creative to the screen, particularly in the film’s ending. Fans of the original movie will relate to my disappointment. Those who have never seen the original comedy may find joy and humour with the results.
Overall, the only people who got conned in this movie are people who watch it thinking this could be something fresh and new. I love the idea of fresh talent to remake a classic comedy from the 80s, but its result is mostly painful and annoying even if you do get a couple of chuckles. Considering the talent, I hoped for something so much better, but the result was I felt robbed.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden