A remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Steve Martin and Michael Caine), The Hustler follows the accidental meeting and unlikely partnership between con women Brit Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) and American Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) as they have a dual of wits and worlds, aimed at conning tech wiz kid Thomas Westerburg (Alex Sharp). Comedic in nature, with a Brit-meets-American sensibility, the film aims at comedy with these two strutting their stuff.
Chesterfield is an established con, working hard from her palatial home to find the right marks and make them pay. When the anchorless grifter Rust rolls in, there’s a competitive fire that rises in Chesterfield, attempting to keep her own block clear of …Rust. Then there’s a period when Chesterfield tries to train Rust, as her would-be protege, which may be the funniest part of the film – and finally, they go head-to-head over Westerburg.
What is clear is that both of these women are talented and funny, but the overall script doesn’t get us anywhere. (It’s clear early on that there’s a twist coming, but it’s too… obvious.) Remakes flipping gender roles are important but sometimes, they fail to break any new ground. Yes, there are funny moments, but the outcome leaves something to be desired.
Special features include three featurettes, “Hitting the Mark,” “Comedy Class,” and “Con Artists, plus commentary by director Chris Addison. An extended gag reel would’ve been terrific!