SWINDLERS: Rebel Wilson plays small-time con artist Penny who meets her match in Anne Hathaway’s Josephine.

The Hustle

  • Comedy; Cert M, contains offensive language and sexual references; 1hr 34mins
  • Starring: Rebel Wilson, Anne Hathaway, Tim Blake Nelson, Ingrid Oliver, Alex Sharp and Emma Davies
  • Director: Chris Addison

WHEN Hollywood decides to remake a classic film, one of the first things it should ask is if there is anything new to say.

In the case of The Hustle, a remake of 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the answer was clearly “no” – but they went ahead and remade it anyway.

The film’s premise, which was originally taken from 1964’s Marlon Brando sleeper hit (excuse the pun) Bedtime Story, has two con artists – one a high-rolling fashion plate, the other a rough-around-the-edges lowlife – play a game of one-upmanship.

Anne Hathaway (Ocean’s Eight) is a con artist who, with the help of the local police chief, rips off vacationing rich-listers at the fashionable and fictitious French Riviera village of Beaumont-sur-Mer. Concerned that the arrival of bumbling hustler, Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) will scare off potential marks, Hathaway decides to mentor Wilson with the agreement the woman will leave the village and never return.

What follows is an hour of gags and jokes that follows the 1988 version so closely, one would be hard pressed to see any original content.

With barely a handful of decent jokes that hit the mark, the script’s weaknesses are worsened by Anne Hathaway’s total lack of comedic timing and horrifically bad (was it British, maybe?) accent. Rebel Wilson plays the annoying, bigger-than-life character who insinuates herself into the storyline.

It is especially disappointing that at a time when Hollywood should step forward and speak for the #MeToo Movement, opportunities like this are too often wasted. It signals once again that the industry is keen to pay lip service but fails in creating anything of substance.

5/10

mark.rieder@thebeacon.co.nz

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