Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was the second last film penned by Stanley Shapiro before his death. It was a cinematic reworking of his play of the same name. Shapiro is also credited on the Rebel Wilson-fronted The Hustle, alongside Anne Hathaway, a version that is a far cry from Shapiro’s original.
Professional con-artist Josephine (Anne Hathaway) calls the French Riviera her home and place of work. After years of success, she displays all the confidence and material trappings. She is unstoppable. That is until, she comes up against Penny (Rebel Wilson) who she witnesses scam a last supper from an unsuspecting well-to-do do-gooder.
The pair share an uncomfortable portion of a train journey, cosied up in a train car, where the meeting of minds ensue. Arriving at her destination, Josephine is relieved to finally be able to bid a swift adiou. Imagine her dismay however when Penny decides that she may just stick around – threatening to muscle in on Josephine’s turf. So in order to keep an eye on the competition, Josephine decides to take Penny under her wing – to smooth out the rough edges and turn her into a worthy accomplice.
The Riviera however is not big enough for the both of them. Deciding to work together, they could make a lot more. The only problem: Penny and Josephine are like oil and water – both have very different styles – but on choosing their ‘mark’ – promising techpreneur Thomas Westerburg (Alex Sharpe) – they quickly step into their roles. The con draws on many similarities with the Michael Caine and Steve Martin version, however the script and direction lacks some of the original’s humour and spontaneity.
Plans take a turn that will see the master and the apprentice at each other’s throats and may the best woman win the man. That is, until one of them develops a fondness for Thomas and decides the bet is off. Neither of them foresee the con that awaits.
Rebel Wilson half-simmers in a role-playing herself, and Hathaway’s English accent feels a little too overdone. Despite this, Josephine’s butler brings some crafty revenge play, and the locations are exotic.
The Hustle is now screening nationally.
About The Hustle
Directed by: Chris Addison
Story by: Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning, Dale Launer
Stars; Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp