Thursday 24 October 2019

The Hustle review: 'It's a horrible, horrible film and I'm genuinely mortified for everyone involved'

No stars

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in The Hustle. Christian Black / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures© 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in The Hustle. Christian Black / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures© 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Chris Wasser

OH BOY. I have little doubt that, come December, this cheap and pointless gender-flipped riff on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will feature high on our poll of the worst films of 2019. Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

Rebel Wilson is Penny, a low-rent con-artist, who makes a living ripping off sleazy dudes in bars.

Later, on a trip to Europe, Penny shares a train carriage with Anne Hathaway’s Josephine, a suave and sophisticated Brit, and a fellow scammer who is in another league altogether.

Josephine has acquired a massive fortune by conning wealthy auld lads in casinos on the French Riviera. Penny’s arrival in Beaumont-Sur-Mer, however, threatens to upend Josephine’s business and, well, let’s just say that Josephine decides to take this reckless Aussie under her wing.

When a promising partnership turns sour, our leading women decide to enter into a bet. There’s a young tech millionaire (Alex Sharp) staying nearby. Whoever can swindle the chap out of his money first, gets to stay on the Riviera.

Yep, it’s more or less the same as the original. The only difference is that the folks behind this abysmal update seem to have forgotten to insert jokes. One ‘gag’ involves Hathaway (pretending to be German) force-feeding Wilson (pretending to be blind) food that’s been dipped in a toilet. Should I continue?

Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I saw a comedy go so far out of its way to avoid entertaining its audience. Nothing works here. The Hustle isn’t crass enough to be outrageous or broad enough to be passable. Instead, it exists in a staggeringly lifeless void of its own ill-advised creation. It makes no sense. Everyone’s timing is off. It’s dead inside, basically.

Hathaway looks lost. Wilson barely commits to playing herself. Neither performer shows even the slightest interest in ensuring that the other person stays awake. It’s a horrible, horrible film, and I’m genuinely mortified for everyone involved.

(Cert: 15A)

Also releasing this week:

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu review: 'Like watching Scooby Doo on acid - a sensation I would not recommend'

 

Amazing Grace review: 'A glorious, almost unbearably moving testament to Aretha Franklin's soaring soul genius'

 

High Life review: 'A wonderfully icky sci-fi horror' 

 

Float Like a Butterfly review: 'A grim but lyrical film'

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