FILM REVIEW: The Hustle

Poor imitation: Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson fail to recreate the silly charm of Michael Caine and Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle, rated M, in cinemas now.
Poor imitation: Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson fail to recreate the silly charm of Michael Caine and Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle, rated M, in cinemas now.

Gender-swapped movies are all the rage these days.

You've got the all-female Ghostbusters, Very Bad Things reimagined with women in Rough Night and even Danny Ocean's sister taking the reins in Ocean's 8.

The latest film to get the gender-swapping treatment is the Michael Caine and Steve Martin classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

The con men are replaced by Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson's con women in The Hustle.

Changing the genders of the leads isn't an inherently bad thing, but like any remake, it has an element of danger - will this new version improve upon or update the story, or will it struggle under the weight of its predecessor?

Sadly for The Hustle, that weight is too much to bear and it falls flat.

It has some funny moments, but neither Hathaway (Interstellar) nor Wilson (Isn't It Romantic) can match the respective pomposity and lunacy of Caine and Martin.

This time around, the film sees Wilson's small-time swindler Penny plying her trade in a picturesque French town occupied by Hathaway's professional scammer Josephine.

Josephine goes after the big money, the high-class marks with her tried and true method: convince the man he's a hero. Penny's tastes are simpler - get a few hundred bucks off an idiot with a spot of catfishing.

The story really kicks into gear when they decide to go head-to-head - whoever swindles the most money from an unsuspecting mark (Alex Sharp's Thomas) gets to continue conning their way through the town while the loser must leave.

There's really not a whole lot to write home about in The Hustle, but their are few pluses: the aesthetic looks expensive, Hathaway's costumes are divine and up-and-coming British actor Sharp is an unexpected joy.

Wilson, however, is far better as a support character than a lead. She and Hathaway have zero chemistry.

Hathaway doesn't get away scot-free either - her accent is atrocious. She clearly knows how to do a British accent as she used one successfully in Les Miserables and Becoming Jane, but Josephine's accent is so over the top it's painful.

If you're a fan of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, you might want to steer clear of this unfavourable imitation.

Rating: 5/10