By Britt Argo
If you loved Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988 Steve Martin/Michael Caine) and you loved the Broadway musical, there is a great chance you’ll love The Hustle!
What it’s about—A Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake. Just like in the first one—we meet (Rebel Wilson) on a train to the French Riviera. Rebel is a low-rent, uncouth grifter, scamming gullible travelers out of $20 and a free meal. Anne Hathaway, a chic, sophisticated, successful con artist watches, exclusively working her own cons in the Riviera.
Anne, bemused by the shenanigans, can’t help but tip her hat, yet wish her on her way. Unfortunately, once Rebel sees the high life, what Anne has acquired with her long con, she decides to stay awhile and try her luck hustling the rich on Anne’s turf. Realizing this would be bad for business, Anne reluctantly takes her on as a protege, mentoring Rebel in her “sugar baby ways.”
Why you will love it—Three great reasons: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, and a twist on the story. Anne Hathaway is the perfect choice for the Michael Caine/Lawrence Jamieson role. She has a proven track record playing a suave, sophisticated straight woman to a bumbling assistant (Agent 99 in Get Smart, opposite Steve Carell) and believable as the high society, in-on-the-plan gal (Daphne Kluger in Ocean’s 8). She is brilliant at this role because of her comedic timing. It’s the pause before the line. It’s the commanding, in-charge presence. She and Rebel Wilson have “buddy chemistry” together to pull this remake off.
Rebel Wilson was the only choice to take on Steve Martin’s Freddy Benson role. She has perfected the slapstick, self-deprecating, bumbling, lovable bit in so many past films (Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect trilogy, Robin in How To Be Single, and Natalie in Isn’t It Romantic, her recent flick). Here she gets to shine again in all the misses, falls, foibles, and more as she gets it right every time, she does it wrong. So fun to watch.
The twist—We already know the guys competed to woo a rich heiress (Glenne Headly) out of her fortune, and she turned the tables on them. In The Hustle, the ladies have a new game. Anne Hathaway’s motivations are revenge on the men who don’t believe women are as smart as men. Her version of Robin Hood (stealing from the rich to give to the poor), is stealing from the naive narcissist to keep for herself.
Their mark is a tech billionaire. Once the initial set-up on the train, the story is all new, a fresh, modern take on the grift. We get to delight in what they will come up with next, and it’s refreshing not knowing how it will turn out. Is the tech billionaire going to end up conning them as in the original? Or will there be an entirely different ending? Will the two ladies work together, or will they turn on each other? We really don’t know. (No spoilers here.)
The Hustle, with its gorgeous French Riviera locale, hilarious performances, and swanky costumes and sets, is the perfect guilty pleasure film to enjoy this May. It opens May 10 on Mother’s Day weekend; take her! ❍
Britt Argo, an avid movie fan, sees an average of 150 movies a year in the movie theaters. She is the marketing coordinator at Aurora Cineplex at Area 51.
Britt Argo, an avid movie fan for 30 years, sees an average of 150 movies a year in movie theaters. She is the marketing coordinator at Area 51: Aurora Cineplex and The Fringe Miniature Golf—5100 Commerce Parkway in Roswell. 770-518-0977.