Movie review: The Hustle rides on Hathaway and Wilson's chemistry
If you couldn't get enough of Anne Hathaway's Hollywood diva actress and thought she was the best thing in last year's heist comedy Ocean's 8, then The Hustle could be the unofficial Daphne Kluger sequel.
Here, she doesn't have to compete for screen time with an entire squad of scheming glamazons led by Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett.
That is not to say Rebel Wilson isn't a heavyweight performer in her own right, easily chewing up shared scenes and being less annoying than usual.
Like Ocean's 8, The Hustle is a female-centred remake of a classic caper - 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in this case - that was headlined by men.
Both also have the makings of being cult chick flicks, but when the jig is up, you cannot help but feel a little cheated.
Perhaps The Hustle does not fulfil its potential because some of the best bits are already in the trailers.
Raunchy jokes, puns and barbs come hard and fast, but the actual comedy is hit and miss.
I longed for more genius moments - like when Hathaway's fake psychiatrist puts Wilson, pretending to be blind, through a series of extreme tests to "cure" her condition.
The pacing is also uneven.
At times, we get mindless breezy entertainment.
But then you wonder why the set-up to the Big Ruse takes so long.
Still, the unlikely pairing of Hathaway's Josephine and Wilson's Penny and the juxtaposition of their modus operandi is gold.
The former is stunning and cunning, fleecing wealthy men of millions at casinos or scamming them out of engagement rings.
The latter plys her small-timetrade at dive bars for much less, and her physical comedy game cannot be beat.
Especially when she outrageously attempts to seduce a female inspector from her jail cell.
The Hustle takes pains to hammer home the idea that women are more suited for the job because "no man ever believes a woman is smarter than him".
But for anyone familiar with the twist ending of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a gender-swapped update leads our protagonists down a far less empowering path, which makes the whole endeavour slightly problematic.
This is no Bridesmaids, but at least it hustles hard to get there. - 3 Ticks
FILM: The Hustle
STARRING: Rebel Wilson, Anne Hathaway, Alex Sharp
DIRECTOR: Chris Addison
THE SKINNY: A pair of female scam artists - one low rent (Wilson) and the other high class (Hathaway) - first team up to fleece rich men, but become rivals when they go after the same mark (Sharp).
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