On its own merits, The Hustle is quite a funny movie. It easily passes the time and as comedies go there's a lot to like about it. The problem with it, however, is that if you're old enough to have seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) then you know exactly how this movie plays out. That is because The Hustle is a re-boot of the original Steve Martin and Michael Caine movie and other than reversed roles, there really is no discernible difference between them. Other than the original being better.
Rebel Wilson plays Penny rust a small-time con artist who frequently swindles foolish men out of a few hundred dollars. Anne Hathaway plays Josephine Chesterfield the far superior con artist who resides in the south of France. Where Penny goes after the small-time, Joesphine goes after the uber-wealthy. When their paths cross, Joesphine quickly realises that Penny may end up scuppering her plans. So she decides to bring Penny in as part of the con, but all the while plotting to get rid of her. When that eventually happens and Penny realises she has been played they decide to settle their differences with a bet.
The bet in question is to be the first to swindle a tech millionaire out of $500K by the end of the week. The plan starts to falter when Penny starts to realise she likes the guy and he's not as rich as they actually thought. But a bet is a bet and with a few slight changes to the plan, the two women go all out to win. However, not all is as it seems and they soon figure out that a bigger con is being played.
Rebel Wilson is very funny as the naive and underestimated Penny and the over-the-top slapstick role suits her down to the ground. While Anne Hathaway was excellent taking on the various con roles within the movie, when she is playing Joesphine straight that's when it didn't seem to work. It may have been the English accent but something just didn't quite gel – certainly not as well as when Michael Caine played the role all those years ago. The script is funny-ish, the interactive between Wilson and Hathaway is solid and if I had never seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels I would probably have liked The Hustle a lot more.