Critic’s Rating: 2.5/5
STORY: When two totally opposite con artists Josephine and Penny cross paths they eventually join hands together to rake in even bigger spoils. But to what extent will they be able to pull off their scams?
REVIEW: ‘The Hustle’ stars Anne Hathaway as Josephine Chesterfield, an elegant, sophisticated con artist who swindles rich men in the French town of ‘Beaumont Sur Mer’. Rebel Wilson is the socially awkward Penny who makes her way here to do her own share of scamming. But Josephine wants no interference in a place she believes is solely her area of operation and does all she can to get Penny out of the way. Which proves to be tougher than she thought. Eventually, as a last resort she takes Penny under her wing to teach her a few tricks of her trade and together they pull off a series of scams conning rich men, using Josephine’s mantra of “exploiting men’s inability to imagine a woman is cleverer than they are.”
The film is a remake of the 1988 comedy, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ with a gender switch (which in turn was remade from the 1964 film, ‘Bedtime Story’). Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson here are to what Michael Caine and Steve Martin were in the 80’s film. And while this gender switch could have translated into a swish female centric comedy, except for the fact that it simply doesn’t take off. The humour falls flat – there are very few laugh out loud moments and some are just cringe worthy. The storyline pretty much sticks to that of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ so there is nothing new there. At just one and half hours this one feels like a drag after a point.
Of course, Anne Hathaway looks ravishing in almost every frame with a wardrobe to die for. And she pulls off the snooty con woman act with an enviable high maintainence lifestyle rather well. Alex Sharp as Thomas Westerberg, an American tech wizard and billionaire is likeable. Rebel Wilson shoulders most of the responsibility for elucidating the laughter but it simply doesn’t cut ice beyond a few slapstick moments and some jokes. Josephine and Penny’s face offs reduce to bringing each other down and it goes a bit ho hum from there.
Director Chris Addison could have pushed this female version of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ to another level with all the ingredients at his disposal but it simply fails to touch that mark.