Chris Addison impressed in directing numerous episodes of Veep. Not so in his feature film directorial debut, The Hustle, facing an abysmal 16% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as rival con artists in a gender-switch remake of 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, itself based on 1964's Bedtime Story. But according to critics, it's the audience that gets hustled.
- Anne T. Donahue was left wondering "how it all went wrong." Despite its comedic talents, "it's a story that hinges heavily on gags about Wilson's looks while failing to give Hathaway's character … any backstory whatsoever," she writes at the Globe and Mail. "And for their experience to be wasted in a production that is below them, below their director's filmography and below the original material is tragic." More biting is the review's headline: "Do do do do do do do do do do do do do, don’t do The Hustle."
- Peter Bradshaw calls out Hathaway specifically. "At least jokes make sense coming out of Wilson's mouth." But "rigid" and "inert," Hathaway "leaves behind a mushroom cloud of anti-humor, reducing every laugh possibility to grey-white ash in a postapocalyptic landscape of horror and despair," Bradshaw writes at the Guardian.
- Leah Greenblatt cuts both stars some slack. They "dance as fast they can for a series of dizzily chaotic set pieces" and deliver "a few legitimately great throwaway lines," she writes at Entertainment Weekly. But with little originality in the script, "the movie feels so fast and cheap that it's hard not to wonder why they've made it at all." Her advice: "Save The Hustle for the future in-flight entertainment system that already feels like its destiny."
- "Any comedian will tell you: Don't let them see you sweat. This movie damn near drowns in perspiration," according to Peter Travers. "The setups are flat, the jokes don't land and the actors don't—or won't—connect," he writes at Rolling Stone. He concludes "an unsuspecting public should have been spared" but instead "gets grifted."
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