Movie Review: ‘The Hustle,” Funny But Not Female Forward

I was really excited the first time I saw a giant cutout for an upcoming movie featuring two of my favorite actresses, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. I was even more excited when I got the invite to preview the movie Wednesday night – a couple of days before it opened in theaters.

“The Hustle” bills itself as a hilarious new comedy about two female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them.

In a way, that is absolutely correct.

The movie is hilarious – I give Hathaway major props for being able to keep a straight face opposite Wilson.

The movie, from what I understand is a gender-switch remake of the 1988 film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which itself was a remake of 1964’s “Bedtime Story,” starring Marlon Brando.

How fresh – I thought.

I loved the idea of two women having a modern Michael Caine/Steve Martin moment. I also loved the idea of two women taking the lead in a movie that wouldn’t fall prey to that classic niche that forces female leads to either fall in love or fall out with her bestie.

To give you a little background first, the main culprit in the movie is Hathaway, who plays a high-class con artist who targets rich men at the casino in Beaumont-sur-Mer, France. And she is good at it – $23 million good.

I personally found Hathaway charming in her role and loved her take on a British accent – other reviewers have called it absurd.

Wilson plays a character named Penny Rust who basically tricks men into giving her money in an elevated Catfish sort of way.

The two ladies meet on a train, find themselves at odds, decide to team up, and (you’re going to have to watch the movie if you want to know).

“The Hustle” does a great job of staying on script with its source material (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” if you forgot). It also has its share of winning scenes.

What I didn’t like about the movie was the lost opportunity just to let women shine. For example, comments that suggest that women, in their everyday lives, have to be 10 times the con artist that men are just to get the job done doesn’t sit well with me. Or that women need to be weak, innocent objects to entice men. Or that just because Wilson is overweight, she is undesirable.

I wish the writers would have adjusted for the fact that it is 2019 and two women are in the lead. It honestly felt like both women ended up losing their dignity in the end – and I didn’t like that.

“The Hustle” officially opens May 10.


Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is the managing editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People. She curates special sections for People Newspapers like the fall and spring society special sections and 20 Under 40, as well as Faith and Living Well print content, daily web posts, and social media. With a strong background in community journalism, she believes that a city’s arts and entertainment scene is one that should be loved and supported. From luncheons to galas to museum openings and on and off-Broadway revivals, you can find her out and about on Instagram at Bianca_TBD. She also can be reached at [email protected]

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