The Hustle

This predictable, idiotic, and degrading remake of a remake will steal your hard earned cash.

The most embarrassing scene to me, at least, in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is when Michael Caine has to slap a stick on Steve Martin’s alleged paralyzed legs so many times that he has to tear up. I said “alleged paralyzed legs” is because these two were con artists. Aside from that, the remake of “Bedtime Story” was funny and charming, because of these two talents.

Besides that scene was just a hiccup compared to what I’ve seen in its next remake “The Hustle,” a truly humiliating gender-swap version that never tries anything original or comical, for that matter. Every trick is remade by Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, who both act like they need the money for their rainy day funds. They appear to know that director Chris Addison (“Mock the Week,” “Veep”) is guiding them in a turkey.

If you’ve have seen “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” you won’t find any surprises, other than Wilson’s camouflage outfits for garbage bags and Christmas wrapping paper. And you won’t find any laughs, other than a smile when Wilson punches a German man in the throat, and calls him “Nazi Gollum.”

For example: Dean Norris has an awful cameo as a Texan playboy, who proposes to Hathaway, until he meets her sister-Wilson in disguise-a wacko named Hortense who thinks she’s a princess. He dumps her, and lets her keep the ring, all part of the plan. Martin was funnier by comparison as his Ruprecht character.

And this sequence is even worse: it’s a rip-off of the paralyzed legs trick I’ve mentioned. Wilson has to pretend to be a blind woman in order to con $500,000 out of a clumsy, young tech boy (Alex Sharp), as part of a bet between her and Hathaway. So Hathaway has to pretend to be a famed German doctor, who gives Wilson a toilet-flavored French fry and blows salmon breath in her face to try to crack her. How in the world did anyone think this scene would be hilarious?!

And I especially disliked Sharp as the target bachelor the way I was annoyed by Skylar Gisando in the “Vacation” reboot/sequel. Spoiler alert: I knew he was a conman in disguise this whole time. How? Because I saw the late Glenne Headly do it in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

I was bored, agitated, and annoyed at how sexist, mean-spirited, predictable, weird, and degrading the characters, narrative, and jokes are in “The Hustle.” Hathaway and Wilson are both fine talents, in general, but they never delve in the original screenplay (by Dale Launer, and the late Stanley Shapiro, and Paul Henning) by trying anything fresh or honest. They just rely on typical slapstick and mass stupidity to keep the plot rolling along.

The 2001 “Ocean’s Eleven” was a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack movie, but it took risks, and added a variety of fresh elements to the script. That ended up being my favorite of the franchise. But with “The Hustle,” there is no need to make this remake of a remake of a remake. It’s just a waste of time, and I’m sure the actors know it is.

☠️ Poison for the Mind (0/4)

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