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Movie Review

Penny Rust is a con artist in a league of her own. But that’s not really a compliment.

Unkempt and determined, Penny makes a living off of exploiting men. First, she shows them a picture of a beautiful woman. Second, she claims the woman is her sister in need of various accommodations. Third, she promises that if these guys give her money for said accommodations, they’ll get to "be" with her “sister.”

She’s pretty clever, if she does say so herself.

Until she stumbles upon a renowned con artist, that is. While travelling through Europe, Penny finds just how out of her league she really is when she meets Josephine.

You see, Josephine is distinguished, skilled at her craft and prides herself on baiting men with profitable assets—assets that far exceed those of the men with whom Penny fraternizes. And Josephine doesn’t share—not her money, not her territory and definitely not her men.

Yet, it seems as if the only way Josephine can rid herself of Penny is to take her under her scheming wing. Before long, Penny proves she’s more of a match than meets the eye.

Positive Elements

Penny and Josephine have their issues (they are con artists after all), but they form a genuine bond of friendship as the movie progresses. Josephine agrees to teach Penny her ways to get rid of her but, in the end, comes to enjoy her company.

Penny can exhibit a sensitive side. She also has a moral code of sorts (skewed though it is), and she calls it quits on a bet in order to save a love interest.

Spiritual Content

None.

Sexual Content

Penny isn’t viewed by many men as conventionally beautiful. So in order to decide what men she’d like to swindle, she shows a picture of a beautiful, busty woman whom she claims is her sister in need of rescuing from sex slavery. If the men prefer that picture to her, she robs them. One man in particular zooms in on the picture of the woman’s cleavage, makes vulgar comments about her body, offers to pay for her “boob job” and casually suggests he’ll have children with her that will be taken care of with child support.

Similarly, Penny and Josephine will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Penny pressures a man into having sex with her in an airplane bathroom. (We briefly hear noises.) Josephine tries to seduce a man (unsuccessfully) by grinding on him, wearing lingerie and flirting.

Myriad crude jokes are heard about the male and female anatomy, homosexual and heterosexual intercourse, gender dysphoria, sexually transmitted diseases, orgasms, threesomes, sexual positions, genital wipes and arousal, among other things.

Penny is often viewed as not being very smart. Josephine, for example, meanly tells Penny she has “t-ts for brains.” A man tells a French woman to shave her armpits. Men go shirtless while swimming. Women wear cleavage-baring outfits. One woman wears a camisole, and another lifts up her shirt to reveal a chastity belt. Women are called “sluts” and “whores.”

Violent Content

Penny's physical pratfalls (falling off a jet ski, tripping and hurting herself) are all played for laughs. At one point, her hand gets superglued to a wall, and she must quickly jerk it away to be freed. (We hear her scream.) Elsewhere, she punches a man in the throat.

A man is falsely shot as a stunt. Joking death threats are made.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is misused twice, once paired with “d--n,” and Jesus' name is misused once. Phuket, a southern province of Thailand, is mispronounced as a profanity. The f-word is drowned out by a horn three times. Also, “fudge” is used once as a stand-in for the f-word. The s-word is uttered four times, and other profanities include multiple uses of “h---,” “b--ch,” “d--n,” “d--mit,” “a--,” “a--holes,” “b--tard” and “d--k.”

A woman is called an “idiot,” and a man is referred to as a “wanker.” Elsewhere, a man says “suck it,” while a woman signs the phrase “eat s--- and die” and performs a crude hand gesture.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Men and women consume beer, wine, hard liquor, champagne and cocktails at pubs, social gatherings and at home.

A man steals a tip to pay for his own beer. Someone jokes about trying drugs. A woman uses a vaping pen.

Other Negative Elements

Penny and Josephine are con artists. They'll do whatever it takes to steal valuables from unsuspecting men. They lie about physical ailments and hide their true identity. The cheat, flirt and seduce. Josephine’s motivation, she says, is to exploit men just as they exploit women’s feelings. She and Penny believe that what they do is just and a form of payback.

One common stunt shows Josephine leading various suitors on. After they propose (usually with huge diamonds), she shows them her sister (a disguised, haggard Penny), who is prone to fits of hysteria and rage.

A man is notoriously known for his gambling problems. A woman is forced to eat a French fry that’s been dipped in a toilet bowl, and other crude toilet humor is prevalent. A man is called “Nazi Gollum.”

Conclusion

A remake of the 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Hustle takes its predecessor's premise and turns it on its head.

Originally a film about swindling men living grossly excessive lives, this remake features Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as con artists who target men known for exploiting women and their feelings.

The Hustle lingers awkwardly at some points, causes you to laugh at others and ends with a twist that suggests a sequel. Of course, as with most of Rebel Wilson’s films thus far, language and sexual gags make up a big portion of the comedy, and clumsy stunts are played for laughs.

All in all, it’s a predictable, generic comedy. And while trying to make a statement of sorts about exploited women, this remake mostly exploits crude humor itself in search of a cheap laugh.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Anne Hathaway as Josephine; Rebel Wilson as Penny Rust/Lonnie; Alex Sharp as young tech mogul; Meena Rayann as Roulette Croupier; Ingrid Oliver as Inspector Desjardins; Casper Christensen as gambling addict; Aaron Neil as Amir

Director

Chris Addison ( )

Distributor

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

May 10, 2019

On Video

August 20, 2019

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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