The Hustle Review: Consistent Humor Masks an Inconsistent Plot


The Hustle introduces an unexpectedly perfect comedy duo of Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. While this certainly isn't a duo most people would've expected to work, the chemistry between the two actresses on screen feels like a perfect comedic formula, with the two being able to bounce both spoken and nonverbal jokes off of one another with ease. I'm incredibly thankful that Hathaway and Wilson managed to work together so well, because the movie would have been unbearable otherwise.

The Hustle certainly started strong, with a number of hilarious hijinks and cleverly written scenes that introduced our two main protagonists in compelling ways. The first 30 or 40 minutes of The Hustle, in fact, delivered exactly what the movie's marketing had promised, featuring Hathaway and Wilson coming up with new, hilarious ways to swindle money out of comically dimwitted men. Everything promised in the trailer was featured amusingly on screen, but after about a half hour, things started to fall apart.

In an attempt to give the movie a bit more conflict and depth, a brand new plot was introduced half way through when the two main characters bet to see who would be the first to swindle one specific person. Unfortunately, while this certainly had a bit of potential, the plot for the rest of the movie didn't have much more depth than a 20 minute Drake & Josh episode. The tone of the second half was unclear, jumping from unwarranted romantic scenes to apathetic comedy scenes, failing to balance the empathy and the apathy in a believable manner. While the second half of the movie was still hilarious, the plot didn't really develop the two characters at all (outside of some cheesy cliches), leaving the ending of the movie fabulously unsatisfying.

Related: Rebel Wilson to Headline Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Remake

Another serious issue with the movie had to do with Anne Hathaway's character Josephine. While Rebel Wilson's character Penny was certainly a believable character, having a clear motivation from beginning to end, Josephine was not. Josephine never seemed to have one clear, singular motivation, making her a much more difficult character to follow. While it's possible that this was an intentional play by the writers, as it's understandably in her character to mislead people and never show her true intentions, it was not played off right. From beginning to end, Josephine felt like nothing more than a poorly written character without any clear goals or flaws, making her decisions in the latter half of the movie feel random and outlandish.

Alas, despite the serious plot issues during the second half of the movie, The Hustle still manages to stand as a fun comedy. From beginning to end, Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway managed to keep the audience roaring with laughter, with a variety of clever jokes and stunts that the two actresses nailed the performances of. While this movie from|MGM is still bounds away from being a great comedy, it is still at least a fun one. As long as you go into the movie with the mindset that it will be nothing more than mindless fun, you should have still an entertaining trip to the theater.

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