Film Review: THE HUSTLE (USA 2019)

The Hustle Poster

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the men who have wronged them.


Chris Addison


Stanley Shapiro (screenplay by), Paul Henning (screenplay by) | 5 more credits »

THE HUSTLE (original title NASTY WOMEN)is a remake of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (Michale Caine and Steve martin) which is a remake of  the sophisticated comedy, BEDTIME STORY (Marlon Brando and David Niven)  One can see the casting of Anne Hathaway who looks posh and refined playing the suave con-artist in opposition to the Rebel Wilson’s con-artist.

The film is set in one of the smaller Riviera towns in the south of France.  The town is not big enough for two con artists.  The posh one, Josephine (Hathaway) plans to get the crass one, Lonnie (Wilson who also produced the film) out of the town so she can do all the cons herself.  But Amy, crass as she is still succeeds in her crooked endeavours.

Though the film can hardly be described as good, one must give credit to both Hathaway and Wilson for trying hard.  Wilson tries the hardest, putting her figure often to ridicule to get a few extra laughs while Hathaway uses her posh exterior to inject any class into the movie.  If Wilson is the sort of comedienne that annoys you, best stay away from THE HUSTLE as they are lots and lots of her comedy.  

The basic premise of the original films is kept in THE HUSTLE while a few updating touches are made.  The target is also tech savvy and has acquired his wealth from owning a lot of stock from his own company.  The enmity between the two con-artists is still present as the wager of a sum of money that will be won based who gets to bed the prized catch.  The lead con-artists have been switched from male to female for the main reason as to update political correctness with more female oriented films.  The reason given in the film is that females make better con artists than their male counterparts is that females are smarter and can prey on man’s weakness for the opposite sex.  As such the male prize in the story looks rather unattractive as a male specimen, looking nerdish and immature.  In real fact, the two female con artists do not do anything really smart either.  The main plot takes a while before settling in, allowing Wilson (this is clearly her vehicle) to do her own thing and her own comedy. 

Whether based on the two previous films or not, the story comes off as entirely predictable, right up to the very end.  When the credits finally roll – what a relief, what transpires is yet another tired and unnecessary make of the the 2 films that could be re-watched instead of this blatant and dull affair.  The only ones that turn up hustled are the audience that pay good money to see what has been advertised as a comedy.


Film Review: ISN’T IT ROMANTIC (USA 2019) ***

Isn't It Romantic Poster

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.


Erin Cardillo (screenplay by), Dana Fox (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? is a romantic comedy that is supposed to be a satire of romanic comedies.  High aspirations!  The film plunges its protagonist, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) an Australian architect living in New York City into an alternative universe of the romantic comedy.   After being mugged and bumping her head, Natalie now lives, while being aware, of this alternative PG-13 Universe with the running joke that the ‘f’ word cannot possibly be uttered.  She must escape every cliche in order to find love and live happily ever after.

Nat finds the most handsome client at the office (Liam Hemsworth) speaking Australian and falling in love with her.  Hemsworth is Australian, so for him speaking like an Aussie is no problem.  But Natalie realizes that she should be with her best friend (Adam Levine) who she had previously in her past life totally ignored.  Natalie decides to go all out to get him back.

Rebel Wilson is the slightly plump Aussie comedian that has been popping up in supporting roles in films of recent years.  She is mostly annoying than funny.  Wilson is at least tolerable in this film where she is given the main lead, turning annoying into over-endearing.  It is too obvious that she is the pitiful girl that the audience should pity and root for and in the end go head-on cheering for.

Strauss-Schulson’s film is however, not without its pleasures.  The film’s best segment tis a romantic musical number set in a Karaoke bar where Natalie shows up to the couple’s party with the full intent of stealing the groom.  They break up into an over-the-top kitsch that is unexpected and refreshing, sort of like when Rupert Everett broke out into the lip-synching song: in MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING.  A similar musical number at the film’s end however loses its punch, not being able to beat the Karaoke one.

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? is described in the ads a a satirical fantasy film about romantic comedies.  A film is a satire if it tears its subject in this case the romantic comedy apart, disbelieving everything about it being true.  I generally do not consider romantic comedies as my favourite genre and I would love to see the concept of romantic comedies totally torn apart.  No such luck – ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, still falls into all the pratfalls of a rom-com.  It has a romantic happy ending, is fully predictable, the girl gets the guy she wants at the end and worst of all is filled with one cliche after another including the girl’s best friend being gay, the supportive girl’s best friend at work and a cutie pet at home.  Other examples: Natalie is passed over at work, is a decent human being and not a beauty and worst of all a bump on her head that shifts her romantic universe (the last film with this similar premise was  WHAT MEN WANT where a bump on the head gives the female protagonist the ability to hear men’s thoughts).  So there is nothing truly innovative about ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  It has a premise that the script does not really know what to do with.  Isn’t it sad?

The film opens Wednesday in time for Valentine’s Day.