Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Hustle Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
From Director Chris Addison (“Veep”) and Actor/Producer Rebel Wilson, The Hustle, is now available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD. Academy Award Winner Anne Hathway stars in the comedy. Two female con artists have very different approaches to deception. With one of the con-women in the big leagues and the other trying to get there, a mentoring relationship develops and leads both women into a situation they never saw coming.

Film (2 out of 5 stars)
Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) is a classy, glamorous Brit who has made an incredible living manipulating men. She credits her success to the idea that men will never believe a woman is smarter than they are. Josephine has amassed a fortune of over $20 million. Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) is much less sophisticated. She has been conning men out of hundreds of dollars for her fake sister’s boob job and has amazingly grown her bank account to $500K. 

Penny wants to learn from Josephine, hoping to make it to the big leagues. Josephine would rather see Penny swiftly out of her life. Before the ladies decide to work together, they spend a great deal of effort trying to outwit each other. A young tech billionaire named Thomas Westerberg (Alex Sharp) is their new mark. Josephine and Penny compete for his affection and his money. The ladies use all their tricks to gain his trust.

The Hustle is a re-imagined version of the comedy classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I wish I didn’t know that because by comparison the film doesn’t come close. Anne Hathaway is a believable con artist. She embodies her characters and could seduce her victims. Rebel Wilson however, sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t see through her act. I realize that the humor is in the juxtaposition between these two characters. It just doesn’t work for me. When the ladies work together their elaborate ruses are too silly to believe. I did enjoy the film more when I viewed it a second time, with lowered expectations. Still, none of the gags made me laugh out loud or even chuckle internally.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Hustle wasn’t released on UHD, but the Blu-ray is very impressive visually. Fine detail is remarkable, and I spent more than a usual amount of time noticing pores, skin imperfections and lines in Hathaway’s lips. The sharp picture is exceptional in a dark nightclub and in the daytime sun. There was no bothersome digital noise or other reasons for complaint.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD 7.1 soundtrack is robust and bold. The 7.1 mix is balanced and well prioritized, taking full advantage of all available channels. The listener feels the claustrophobia of a crowded night club, the roar of the train, and the power of a jet. Penny’s physical comedy offers crashing, breaking and screaming. Dialogue is intelligible and even.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray contains the following short list of supplemental features:
  • Hitting the Mark (4:35) – A discussion of the gender swap, story adaptation and other miscellaneous details about the writing and filming process.
  • Comedy Class (5:51) – The tone and humor of the film are detailed here, as the lead roles are examined.
  • Con Artists (6:31) – More on the leading ladies and their supporting cast and crew.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
An early scene where Rebel Wilson hides amongst trash bags is the best laugh this film provides. It was mostly downhill from there. Towards the end of the film, there is a bit of heart and you do finally feel something for the two con women. Rebel Wilson’s obnoxious personality works well for Pitch Perfect’s character Fat Amy. In projects like this, it gets old fast. I encourage anyone who is interested to give this a try for themselves. The experience wasn’t a complete waste of time. My funny bone is admittedly hard to reach, and this could tickle someone else.

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