Comparing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to 2019 Remake The Hustle

So, how does the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels of 1988 compare with femme remake The Hustle in 2019?

That’s the thing.  One is a tight, lovely little tale. The other is a sad ripoff.

The Hustle might seem fresh if you’ve never seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Cain. But for anyone who has enjoyed this great con tale, The Hustle is a shock to the system. The Hustle took Scoundrels note by note, gender flipped it with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, removed most of the charm, and called it a wrap.

There are remakes that work. There are re-imaginings that surpass the original. And then there is THIS mess.

The Hustle is the exact same movie as Scoundrels with a weaker plot, less accomplished actors, and an irksome roteness. It’s like they wrote the script for The Hustle with a checklist from Scoundrels: the first scene features a priceless diamond bracelet as part of a scam — check. The grifter low-rent con worms her way into the classy con’s life, an early train sequence, a corrupt cop on the payroll — checkity. There’s the same bet about who has to leave town…the hapless mark is a sweet young thing that comes between their greed and a grudging compassion….checkcheckcheck.

And Ruprecht becomes Hortenze…okkkkay? Sorry, Wilson, but Martin did it better. His fool was cool, and yours hurts the senses.

Then there’s the ending. Holy hell. It retroactively cheapens the payoff in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to have it be Exactly. The. Same. Thing.

Why not just call it Dirty Rotten Scoundrels outright if they can’t be bothered to change the script? Ghostbusters did just that in 2016, but at least they bothered to write a new story.

Who got conned in the end? We did. Movie tickets aren’t exactly cheap.

Please don’t encourage the producers of The Hustle. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is available entirely free on You Tube, and remains a polished jewel. The Hustle is a polished turd…which is still a turd, after all.

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Does It Better than The Hustle – A Rewatch Review

Although Dirty Rotten Scoundrels came out 30 years ago, it’s still the movie to beat when compared with the 2019 female-led remake The Hustle. Starring Steve Martin, Michael Cain, and Glenne Headley (who died last year — RIP), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels provides a witty journey with a pair of cons who are as likely to team up as turn on each other. In fact, in Scoundrels, they do both. And it’s glorious.

I’m not saying Scoundrels isn’t super silly at times (ie – “Ruprecht” — see video and catch an immortal “Pee” reference) – but these guys make it work. Mention this movie to people and they invariably quote, “Excuse me, may I go to the bathroom first?”

Or here, just watch the entire Ruprecht sequence on video:

Cain is the cool, suave, and smooth straight-man; Martin frolics, bumbles, and gleefully goofs his way across the Riviera. A young Glenne Headly is the ideal ingenue. Plus — bonus —  Emperor Palpatine gets to say, “Welcome to Hell.” (You can’t mistake Ian McDiarmid here as the butler, pre-Star Wars.)

In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, nothing is exactly what it seems, and it’s the wacky, unexpected payoff that makes this truly memorable. People my age remember this film, and young folk still take to it. It holds up nicely, with only a few earmarks to indicate an 80s timestamp. When I re-watched this last night, I was “relieved” (ha — no pun intended) to see it was as playful and clever as I recalled.

True to the nature of the Big Con, Scoundrels looks expensive, with locations sets on the French Riviera, at high end hotels, with a luxe villa to drool over. The scenery, cars, and bespoke suits add the perfect touches — in all ways, the producers did Dirty Rotten Scoundrels right  This silly comedy earns an A- in my book, even now.

Lots of laughs and a fun-filled farce with A listers on their A game? Yes, please.

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

Movie Review - The HustleAh, The Hustle. It looked so winsome from the trailers. I like Rebel Wilson most of the time, and Anne Hathaway almost all the time. The promising premise: a comedy with two completely different brands of women, running high-stakes scams on rich men in Europe. I was excited to do the Peetimes for this film, expecting an evening of clever fun.

But then it entirely fell down in the execution, with a big old tiresome pratfall.

The Hustle was so very much like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but a whole lot less amusing, and oftentimes outright silly. And honestly, I like silly movies when I’m in the mood for it, but The Hustle is the bad kind of silly. I even wrote in my notes (during the last Peetime) “More of the stupid continues for several minutes.”

I’m not saying this is a bad movie. It’s just relentlessly mediocre, often tiresome, frequently awkward, and not as funny as it should be. Sometimes I cringed at the lazy incompetence of the script. I don’t think I laughed out loud once, although I did smile here and there. The plot has a few minor payoffs that do work, especially in the beginning, but by the time the main con is underway, the fails start rolling in.

What else? The Hustle looks good, with sun-drenched sea-side location shots, luxurious outfits, and a boyishly cute male lead (Alex Sharp). There’s good pacing, and some snappy banter. If you want to watch Wilson and Hathaway bicker and snipe at each other for an hour and a half, this might be your film.

Personally, I’d rather re-watch Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I’d have to view it again to see how it holds up with the passage of the years, but that’s a film I have fond feelings for.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: This was an easy movie to find Peetimes. My 3 Peetimes are nicely spaced out, and equally good, although short. If you can hold out for the final Peetime at 1:07, it’s the best one with the least humor.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Hustle. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for crude sexual content and language
Genres: Comedy, Caper/Heist

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Does It Better: A re-watch review, with comparisons to The Hustle

Quiz – Rebel Wilson – The Newest Funny Gal in Show Business

Quiz – Rebel Wilson – The Newest Funny Gal in Show Business

In this 10-question quiz, I’ll give you the plot — courtesy of the IMDb — and you give me the movie. Hope you have fun, and maybe learn something new about Rebel Wilson. Good luck. [quiz-cat id=”15392″]

Thanks for stopping by! And if you enjoyed this quiz, maybe you can check out my quiz on Melissa McCarthy (the other really funny gal I love). If you enjoy that one, maybe you can share my other quizzes with your bestest best buddies.

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

Quiz – Melissa McCarthy – The Funniest Woman in Hollywood

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Movie Review – Pitch Perfect 2

Melissa McCarthy on College Days, Life of the Party

Movie Review – Life of the Party

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Movie Review – Isn’t It Romantic – Fluffy, Good Fun

 

Movie Review - Isn't It RomanticCan Rebel Wilson carry off the lead in a ‘Rom-Com’? Oh you bet she can, and Isn’t It Romantic is a great launching pad for her new status as a leading lady.

This movie was exactly as advertised: 88 minutes of pure fluff, but I say that fondly. I’m a little like Rebel’s character, Natalie; I don’t care for rom-coms. [I should point out that I very rarely watch and review rom-coms. I leave that to the more qualified RunPee Critics]. However, this piece of fluff was really funny.

The acting, pacing, and directing was spot on. Of course, as it should be, Rebel Wilson was the movie. Her sense of comedic delivery is second to none. My question is; why has it taken so long for her to get her own vehicle?

The supporting cast was awesome, and everyone looked like they were having fun making this flick. That’s one of my pet peeves — when you see a cast so wooden that you know they’re just phoning in their roles. Such was not the case with Isn’t It Romantic.

My one caveat is, I’m not sure how much the guys will go for the movie. Like I said, it is pretty fluffy. Maybe ladies…you can take your significant other to the go cart track afterward!

Grade: (Will be updated shortly)

About The Peetimes: Isn’t It Romantic is a short movie and tightly edited. There were no good Peetimes. I managed to select 2 Peetimes that, although important to the plot, could be easily summed up.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Isn’t It Romantic. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for language, some sexual material, and a brief drug reference
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Movie Review – Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch-Perfect -2Rarely does a sequel out-shine the original, but such is the case with Pitch Perfect 2. The musical numbers are great, and Fat Amy keeps us laughing.

If you liked Perfect Pitch, you’ll love PP2. This is definitely an A movie.

Movie Grade: A

Movie Review – Perfect Pitch

The name says it all: Pitch Perfect. I seriously, didn’t see or hear anything I didn’t like. This was one of those movies you are constantly smiling through. When the characters excel, you feel overjoyed for them. When they fail, you feel their pain.

The singing in this movie was fantastic! There is a scene that takes place in a giant empty pool where a lot of the groups have gathered. They are there for a riff-off. That particular scene was so cool it gave me chill bumps. The way they can sing without any music just dumbfounds me. If you are a fan of singing movies, you can’t miss this one.

Some characters didn’t have huge roles, but they still pulled off stellar performances. Based on what I saw, we will be seeing more of these lesser known actors take off. Two thumbs up for sure!

Movie Grade: A