Metro—Goldwyn—Mayer production studios brought back the iconic movie “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with its remake “The Hustle” on May 10. It only received an 18% from Rotten Tomatoes, which is understandable since the film is being compared to the classic ’80s movie, which it follows closely, but with a few twists. This movie had many funny moments and some A-list actors such as Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, but the two had some big shoes to fill.
Australian con artist Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) tricks men into giving her money by creating ridiculous stories about her gorgeous — but fake — sister needing money for an operation. The law starts closing in on her, so she decides to move on. When she learns about a city in the south of France filled with rich men to target, she decides to go there next.
On her way there, she meets Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) who lives in the city and is a much wealthier and more polished con artist who also tricks men into giving her money. Rust asks Chesterfield how she does it, so Chesterfield teaches Rust some of her techniques to become more successful. Her goal in doing so is to frustrate Rust so she’ll leave the town.
Once she teaches Rust how to dress better and behave differently to properly con a man, Chesterfield’s plan backfires and Rust uses those skills to start conning the local wealthy men, which is bad for business. With envy growing inside her, Chesterfield makes a bet with Rust to see who the better con artist is. The loser has to leave.
For people who love classic comedies from the ’80s, they’ll definitely recognize the plot from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with Michael Caine and Steve Martin. The director of “The Hustle,” Chris Addison, tried to stay true and accurate to the original storyline. It even has the early train scene from the original movie where the two con artists meet for the first time. The writers also designed the two main characters in the new movie with similar personalities to the original characters. The two male characters in the ’80s version place a similar bet and go through several situations that are portrayed in the new movie.
While the films have many common plot lines, there were also a number of differences as well. Since there’s new and different technology available today compared to when “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” was first released, the writers for “The Hustle” changed some concepts to make the movie feel more modern. While they did try to keep as many iconic moments from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” as possible, some important details were either left out, changed or turned into brand new ideas. This was to help the updated version of the movie make more sense today but still work with the many original components included.
The biggest difference between the two movies is that the two con artists are women, while in the ’80s rendition it’s men. The gender difference changes the plot in several small ways. For example, the men act more classy as a technique when they con women, while the women are more flirtatious when they con men. Another major difference — as stated by Anne Hathaway’s character — is that the two men conned women due to how sympathetic women can be, but the con women go after men because they know they’d underestimate a woman.
The Rotten Tomatoes rating is a reasonable score for “The Hustle” because while it’s fairly accurate to the original story with some small differences, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is one of the most well known and loved comedies for over 20 years. It received an 81% by Rotten Tomatoes and got nothing but positive reviews. So many components of the two films parallel, and the new movie had big shoes to fill to live up to its predecessor.
“The Hustle” is a fun comedy to see while relaxing after finals. It’s funny and enjoyable for people who love con artist movies. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson have no problem with keeping the same feel of Martin and Caine’s characters while bringing a feminine touch to the movie. But it’ll never be as iconic as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” This is a good movie for a girls’ night out, but it doesn’t live up to the original.
Contact Gracie Brogowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.