Film Review | The Hustle

Rebel Wilson has emerged after her recent courtroom drama to produce a comedy that suits her skills at physical comedy and one-line quips.

She is listed as the producer and The Hustle is clearly an avenue for her to display her comedic skills. Everyone else is incidental; the events are wrapped around Wilson's low-key comedy.

At times, it seems more like a stand-up comedy routine than a flowing storyline and Wilson appears to be sleep-walking through the film.

The plot centres on two female con artists, Rebel Wilson's unsophisticated, bargain basement huckster, Penny, and Anne Hathaway's ultra-sophisticated, elegant Josephine Chesterfield, who operates a team of con artists who liberate jewellery and vast fortunes from super-wealthy and incredibly gullible men.

The Hustle

The Hustle

Penny's cons are ad-libbed while Josephine's schemes are elaborate and successful by design.

While Penny uses her ill-gotten gains to fund drinking binges and water activities at holiday resorts, Josephine luxuriates in a lifestyle of chic clothing, the finest dining and an ultra-modern home in Beaumont-sur-Mer.

When their paths cross and Penny threatens to derail Josephine's lucrative scams with her crude methods, Josephine agrees to mentor Penny, while all the time scheming to drop kick Penny far away from her own turf.

The entire film chronicles how they use their individual skills as con artists to unsettle each other. The result is a series of funny situations where each one undermines the other and Rebel Wilson is allowed to shine as a jokester.

To resolve the conflict and determine who should retain Beaumont-sur-Mer as their playground, Penny and Josephine decide on a challenge. They pick a mark, Thomas, a young klutz who earned his fortune by developing a successful smartphone app and is in Beaumont-sur-Mer to meet his financiers for a new IT venture. He is young and naive and perfect as a mark.

The first person to extricate Thomas's fortune wins the challenge and will leave Beaumont-sur-Mer forever.

There is a slight twist to the scam perpetrated by Penny and Josephine, which doesn't take too much to work out, which provides a pleasant ending to the film. Nobody is hurt in the process and it all ends well.

The Hustle delivers a standard comedy with formulaic set-ups and funny one-liners that will ultimately be forgotten quickly. It doesn't have depth of character or high-end humour.

Having said that, it provides light-hearted entertainment that skims the surface of humour but had me laughing regularly throughout the film. It's a pleasant and inoffensive way to spend a few hours at the movies and there's nothing wrong with that.