The con artist comedy The Hustle is a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Michael Caine and Steve Martin, which was itself a remake of Bedtime Story with Marlon Brando and David Niven. The lack of advertisement for this didn't leave me with high hopes. However, the movie was better than expected. Still, it was also a pale imitation of DRS.
The movie's biggest issue is that the plot from it's predecessor is basically replicated point-by-point. Everything is too expected. The reason Dirty Rotten Scoundrels became more entrenched in public memory than Bedtime Story was because it was willing to take the story on a different trajectory. I mean the general idea of two con artists competing over a mark is a general idea that could've been reinvented in multiple ways. They could have at least changed geographic locations. If you haven't seen DRS, you'll probably get a lot more entertainment value out of this.
Rebel Wilson plays the Steve Martin/uncouth, "small-time" con artist role. The problem is that the film relies too much on her. It's clear, that a good portion of filming involved director Chris Addison just having Wilson ad-lib. When Wilson is funny, she is very funny. She can have such a delightfully sharp tongue. But she produces a lot of groaners, too. In fairness to Wilson, it was up to the director and editor to which material showed up on film. Doesn't help that the actress' character and a lot of her material feels recycled from previous films. They try to make her character sympathetic in the end, but the character is so acidic the audience's empathy isn't earned.
Anne Hathaway fairs a lot better as the Michael Caine/classy and haughty con artist. Her posh British accent is clearly fake, but she's so committed to the role that I couldn't help enjoying it. (The same can't be said for another accent she uses later on.) She also has a great control of non-verbal mannerisms. The best difference between this and DRS is that unlike with Michael Caine's total straight man The Hustle isn't afraid to knock Hathaway's haughty character down a peg and make her the butt of the joke at times. It's fun to see the character's rare moments where she loses her temper and drops all sense of control and class.
Alex Sharp plays the mark, and I'm afraid the character isn't very interesting or really leaves much of an impression.
I know I have a lot of complaints about this film, but the reason I didn't give this a lower rating is because when it was all said and done I didn't have a bad time. When it's funny, the movie is funny. (Also doesn't hurt that since this is set in the French Riviera, the whole thing looks nice.) This is by no means a great movie, but I didn't walk away feeling cheated either. Thing is that I can see some people really liking or disliking this. I say take a chance, but there's no need to make this something to see immediately.