HOLLYWOOD—It seems Hollywood has become way too comfortable with remakes. Just become a film was made 50 plus years ago, does not warrant a remake let alone scream that we need one. It looks like the laughter was misplaced for the Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson comedy “The Hustle,” a remake of the 1988 flick “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which happens to be a remake of the 1964 classic “Bedtime Story.”
This time around Hathaway and Wilson portray con artists Josephine Chesterfield (Hathaway) and Penny Rust (Wilson) whose primary objective is to locate rich men, and rob them blind while making them fall for their charm, or lack of. The two ladies start off as frenemies in the beginning, but Penny has an epiphany that if she can be more like Josephine she might find more successes than failures.
Here’s the biggest problem I had with this flick: chemistry. I just never felt the chemistry was strong between Hathaway and Wilson. I don’t know if it was perhaps the fact that Hathaway, while a fine actress, didn’t feel like she was immersed in the character she was portraying. She plays a con artist quite well, did anyone see “Ocean’s 8?” However, the synergy isn’t here with Wilson. I felt Hathaway and her character were more annoyed by Wilson than anything, and as a viewer I couldn’t help but sense that.
A big problem with comedic actors or actresses is the ability to be easily typecast. In Wilson’s case, this is a character that I’ve seen more times than I can count. Her breakout role in “Bridesmaids” she was quite annoying. Than you have “Pitch Perfect,” “How to be Single” and most recently “Isn’t it Romantic.” Do you see my point? She portrays the same character over and over again, loud, obnoxious, over-the-top and just a pest to say the least. Does “The Hustle” deliver some laughs? Yes, a few, but nothing compared to the bellyache I felt watching “Bridesmaids,” and other comedies that delivered more originality that what is given here.
“The Hustle,” which has an interesting premise soon becomes a movie about wit; who can outwit whom the quickest to get a leg up. It feels sort of spy-ish without really having any of those troupes and elements that you come to expect from a spy thriller. Hathaway might be the strongest player in the movie performance wise, but even her acting caliber can’t save this comedy that feels outplayed, outdated, outwitted and overdone. If laughs are what you’re looking for steer clear of “The Hustle” because you’ll end up losing in the long run, hence the film’s title.