The Hustle (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chris Addison|
|Music by||Anne Dudley|
|Edited by||Anthony Boys|
|Box office||$97.9 million|
The Hustle is a 2019 American comedy film directed by Chris Addison and written by Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning, Dale Launer, and Jac Schaeffer. It is a female-centered remake of the 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which is itself a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story. The film stars Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp, and Dean Norris, and follows two women who set out to con an internet millionaire.
The film was theatrically released in the United States on May 10, 2019, by United Artists Releasing, while Universal Pictures distributes the film in international markets. It received mostly negative reviews and grossed $98 million worldwide.
Penny is a small-time con artist who traps men into giving her money, whereas Josephine is a sophisticated con artist who cons the world's richest men out of their money, Their idol is the legendary unknown con artist Medusa. The two con artists meet for the first time while travelling on the French Riviera. Not willing to take any chance with any competition, Josephine has Penny arrested, after which Josephine pays her bail and advises Penny to leave the country. Penny discovers that she was conned by Josephine but begs her to teach her. Josephine and Penny execute a complicated con act against multiple rich men called The Lord of the Rings, stealing engagement rings. The plan works but Josephine refuses to pay Penny because she's an apprentice. Penny and Josephine wager Penny's entire net worth of $500,000 using billionaire Thomas Westerburg, the creator of a tech app called YaBurnt, as their victim.
Penny initially gains the upper hand by pretending to be blind, something that Thomas could relate to because his grandmother was also blind. Josephine, however, pretends to be a prominent eye doctor to "treat" Penny using unorthodox methods as a ruse to get close to Thomas. Penny uses sympathy gained by a few women at the club to ambush Josephine in the bathroom while she spends alone time with Thomas, but she learns that Thomas is not a billionaire and that he intends to use the last amount of his money for her instead. She tells Josephine that the wager is off, having developed some feelings for him. Josephine changes the wager of stealing Thomas' money to stealing his feelings instead. To hold her up, Josephine tells the women Penny lied about being blind, and they glue her hand to the wall.
Josephine later shows up at Thomas' hotel room, attempting to seduce him. Penny breaks free from the wall and learns from a hotel server that Josephine never left his room, which makes her assume that they have had sex. The next morning, Thomas admits to Penny that he paid for her eye care, but he must leave France. Penny gives him $500,000 back via Venmo, and he leaves in a plane. Josephine catches up to her, having admitted that she and Thomas never had sex and that he conned her into investing $500,000 into his company. Penny realizes that she had also been conned by him; Thomas reveals via text that his grandmother was the original Medusa, having inherited her title, though his feelings for Penny were genuine.
A fortnight later, Penny is leaving Josephine's residence. Out of sympathy, Josephine gives her the money from their "Lord of the Rings" con acts. Their farewell is cut short when Thomas returns while in the middle of a con act against wealthy tourists in which he includes the two women. They reluctantly go along with his act but holds $2,000,000 against him before they trust him. Thomas suggests they work together to make even more money, which Josephine and Penny agree to. They are then shown committing a successful con during Christmas holidays, getting along, with Penny and Thomas resuming their relationship.
A post-credits scene shows both women in one of their earlier "Lord of the Rings" con acts.
In August 2016, it was announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was developing a female-centered remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), which in turn was a remake of Bedtime Story (1964). This time set to feature two con women, Rebel Wilson was announced as one of its stars. The project is a joint production, with Roger Birnbaum and Wilson producing through their studios Pin High Productions and Camp Sugar Productions, respectively. Jac Schaeffer wrote the updated script, with credit also going to the previous films' screenwriters Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning, and Dale Launer.
In January 2017, the working title of the film was revealed to now be Nasty Women, which was retitled The Hustle with Anne Hathaway set as co-lead to Wilson. The title was a reference to the "nasty woman" comment which Donald Trump directed at Hillary Clinton during their campaign debates. By March, Chris Addison was hired to direct, in his feature film helming debut. In August of the same year, Alex Sharp was cast to play a male lead in the film, a tech billionaire in his early 20s who becomes the wager center between the two experienced con-women.
The film was released on May 10, 2019 by United Artists Releasing. It had previously been scheduled for August 10, 2018 and June 29, 2018 releases. Meghan Trainor recorded the song "Badass Woman" for the movie.
A special trailer for The Hustle was released to coincide with the premiere of Avengers: Endgame, which begins by spoofing Endgame trailers, and refers to Lonnie and Josephine as "The Revengers" — a parody name that was also previously referenced by another film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok.
The Hustle grossed $35.4 million in the United States and Canada and $62.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $97.9 million, against a production budget of $21 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Tolkien and Poms, was projected to gross $11–15 million from 2,750 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $4 million on its first day, Friday, including $774,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $13.5 million, finishing third, behind Avengers: Endgame and Detective Pikachu. In its second weekend the film dropped 53%, to $6.1 million, finishing fifth, and then made $3.8 million in its third weekend, finishing eighth.
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On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 14% based on 161 reviews, with an average rating of 3.83/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Hustle's stars might make an effective comedy team in a different setting, but this gender-flipped remake of a remake adds little beyond its feminine twist." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale. Women made up 71% of the opening weekend demographic, and those polled by PostTrak gave the film an overall score of 73%.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 1 out of 5, and wrote, "They say it's all in the timing, especially when it comes to funny business. But in The Hustle everyone's inner comedic clock is calamitously off. The setups are flat, the jokes don't land and the actors don't — or won't — connect." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, "Anne Hathaway detonates a megaton blast of pure unfunniness in this terrifying film."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref.|
|Golden Trailer Awards||2019||Best Comedy Poster||The Hustle||Won|||
|People's Choice Awards||November 10, 2019||Comedy Movie of 2019||Nominated|||
|National Film & TV Awards||December 3, 2019||Best Comedy||Nominated|||
|Golden Raspberry Awards||March 16, 2020||Worst Actress||Anne Hathaway (also for Serenity)||Nominated|||
|ASCAP London Awards||October 21, 2020||Top Music Film Awards||Anne Dudley||Won|||
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