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HUSTLE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them.

Review by Louise Keller:
The South of France looks fabulous - as do the Jimmy Choo stilettos that Anne Hathaway wears. The music bounces happily like a French farce. So far so good. But the film is a disappointment: a mix of contrivance, tawdry humour and patchy performances. I was underwhelmed. Audiences at the preview screening seemed to enjoy it though, with intermittent laughter rippling through the auditorium in fits and starts.

A misfire on every level, especially as the premise is a reworking of one of my favourite comedies - the wonderful Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) with Michael Caine and Steve Martin playing con artists working the Cote d'Azur. It did not matter that the premise was far-fetched and beyond credibility; performances were played straight and the result spectacularly funny. (Bedtime Story was the earlier film in 1964 in which David Niven was pitted against Marlon Brando in a similar tale.)

Here, actor and TV director Chris Addison helms this reworking and it is played for laughs. Direction and script must take the blame. The fact that there are four credited screenwriters is no surprise. The film feels like a sit com crammed with visual gags that go nowhere, all strung together like blind dates gone wrong. I liked the trash dress running gag - when Wilson and her frock/s blend into the trash like a chameleon. Hathaway dons a grating fake English accent while Rebel Wilson assumes her usual screen persona: crass, loud, obnoxious. Wilson has the innate ability to unselfconsciously use her size as part of her arsenal; she plays gormless to a tee.

The plot strands have been modified to suit with dubious results. The ideas are totally forgettable. Alex Sharp playing the mark (and looking like a handsome young Mark Zuckerberg) is not a match on Glenne Headly from the 1988 film, but the dramatic curve remains the same.

For the undemanding Rebel Wilson fan.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

HUSTLE, THE (M)
(US, 2019)

CAST: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Tim Blake Nelson, Alex Sharp, Meena Rayann, Ingrid Oliver, Sarah-Staphanie, Casper Christensen

PRODUCER: Roger Birnbaum, Rebel Wilson

DIRECTOR: Chris Addison

SCRIPT: Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning, Dale Launer, Jac Schaeffer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Coulter

EDITOR: Anthony Boys

MUSIC: Anne Dudley

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Art Direction: Ashley Lamont, Andrea Metheson, Chris Peters, Paul Toddington

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 9, 2019







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