Yes, it's a remake, of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988),
starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin and Glenn Headly, but actually,
that was a remake, also, of “Bedtime Story” (1964), starring David
Niven and Marlon Brando and Shirley Jones.
The plot is the same: a
smooth, sophisticated con artist meets a low-class hustler, and they
decide to test their skills by seeing who can romance “the mark” the
In “Hustle,” the 2019 version, we have Anne Hathaway and Rebel
Wilson, both vying to con Alex Sharp.
It's a lot of sight gags and silliness, the kind of light-hearted
fun that doesn't involve comic book action heroes or sci-fi extravaganzas
or CGI-enhanced action sequences. In
fact, this movie could have been made in 1988 or 1964 and we wouldn't have
known the difference. Which is
also why it fails to completely engage the viewer.
The main characters might be the smartest people in the room in
their own eyes, but they fail to charm us or amuse us.
There's very little heart. Rebel
Wilson's character does start to feel sorry for fleecing her mark, when
she finds out how sincere he is, but that weakness is only temporary.
They depend on greed and gullibility and deception to prey on
others, and they're not winsome enough for us to care whether they get
away with it or not. There's
no romance, and there's no emotional connection to the viewers.
There won't be any clamoring for sequels.
“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” Directed by Frank Oz, won a Golden
Globe nomination for Michael Caine. This
gender-reversal remake isn't nearly up to those standards.