The Hustle Parent Guide
A gender flipped version of 1988's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". It's better...but still not good.
Parent Movie Review
Sick of men’s dismissive and sexist behavior, Penny (Rebel Wilson) has found her revenge in conning them out of their cash. Having concocted a story about a hot sister who needs cash for breast implants, Penny has managed to accumulate a tidy $500,000 nest egg from her scam. But her hometown is too hot to hold her, so she heads for greener pastures and winds up in Beaumont sur Mer, an idyllic playground for the rich on the French Riviera.
Beaumont sur Mer is also the home of Josephine (Anne Hathaway), a sophisticated American who affects a British accent and upper class persona and who has turned duping men into a lucrative enterprise that dwarfs Penny’s more amateur operation. Josephine credits her success to understanding how to manipulate men. “Why,” she asks, “are women better suited to the con than men?.....No man will ever believe a woman is smarter than he is.” Knowing that she is going to be underestimated, Josephine sucker punches her chosen marks.
Penny doesn’t underestimate Josephine. Once she sees the scale of Josephine’s operation, she blackmails her way into the enterprise. But Penny gets ambitious and the town isn’t big enough for two con artists. The women make a wager: they agree to pick a mark (Alex Sharp) and play to win, with the loser abandoning Beaumont sur Mer.
If you think this plot sounds familiar, you’d be right. It’s a gender-flipped remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the 1988 release starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. With very few exceptions The Hustle sticks remarkably close to the original script. It is however, better than the original. It’s 15 minutes shorter and moves a lot faster, the jokes are funnier and the production values are better. And, coming from the perspective of a female viewer, there’s a sense of schadenfreude in seeing men being fleeced by women that I didn’t experience when the tables were turned.
Just because The Hustle is better than Dirty Rotten Scoundrels doesn’t mean it’s good. Anne Hathaway’s English accent is sometimes painful and Penny’s feigned blindness is less effective than Steve Martin’s fake paralysis in the 1988 movie. (Although, for the record, Rebel Wilson is less annoying than Steve Martin was.) And there are also some content issues. Parents will understandably be concerned about a movie that glamorizes criminal behavior and that could be considered offensive towards people who are blind or intellectually impaired. The movie also features some crude sexual dialogue, the beginning of a seduction scene, and implied sex in an airplane washroom.
Given the content issues, we are not recommending this movie for children. The PG-13 rating is appropriate and parents will want to think carefully before taking their teens to this film. And they will want to ask if the laughs – and there was lots of laughter in the screening I attended – are worth the negative messages about deceit and dishonesty. At least viewers who go to the movie with an awareness of potential content issues won’t feel like they have been hustled out of the price of admission.Directed by Chris Addison. Starring Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Tim Blake Nelson. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release May 10, 2019. Updated May 10, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Hustle rated PG-13? The Hustle is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for crude sexual content and language
Violence: A character suggests killing another character. A man steals a tip to buy drinks. A main character punches a man in the throat. A woman dips a french fry in the toilet and feeds it to another character. A woman shuts a door in front of a running character, causing her to run into it. A man steals a woman’s clothing and leaves her in a hotel.
Sexual Content: A man looks at a woman’s photo on his phone and zooms in on her breasts. A character talks about her sister, whom she describes as a virgin, being abducted and defiled. A woman says her hometown is a community for lesbians. A main character licks the bars of her jail cell in a sexually suggestive manner. A woman mentions having flavored personal lubricant in her luggage. A main character propositions a man for sex in an airport washroom: subsequent activity is implied. A woman fires a shotgun at a man, he falls, apparently (but not actually) hit. A woman pats another woman’s breast. Men proposition women and other men for sex, sometimes in coded language. A woman shows up uninvited at a man’s hotel room and attempts to seduce him.
Profanity: There are fewer than a dozen mild and moderate profanities in this movie. It features two muffled sexual expletives and a double sexual hand gesture. There are frequent crude comments, often of a sexual nature. Explicit terms are used for female breasts and genitalia and slang terms are used for male genitalia.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink alcohol in social situations, but not to excess.
Page last updated May 10, 2019
The Hustle Parents' Guide
Penny swindles men because she is tired of being rejected by them in favor of more attractive women. Do you think she is justified? Do two wrongs ever make a right? How else do you think she could handle these situations?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Assuming Names: A Con Artist’s Masquerade by Tanya Thompson tells the story of a teenager who pulls off an astounding con: masquerading as a world travelled countess.
Camille Perri’s novel The Assistants features executive assistants who embezzle from their employers to pay off their student loans.
Want to make sure you don’t get conned? Try Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time for tips and warnings.
News About "The Hustle"
The Hustle is a re-make of the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin -- which is a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story, starring Marlon Brando and David Niven.
Related home video titles:
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the original version of this story and centers around male con artists ripping off credulous, wealthy women.
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call is another movie which remakes a popular hit and replaces a male cast with a female cast. Ocean’s 8 adds a female-led film to a male dominated franchise.