Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘The Hustle’

Faithful remake of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ flounders amid attempts to top Steve Martin and Michael Caine

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 5/11/19

There are a lot of good reasons some movies with male leads could easily be remade with female actors and probably turn out better ...

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Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘The Hustle’

Faithful remake of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ flounders amid attempts to top Steve Martin and Michael Caine

Posted

There are a lot of good reasons some movies with male leads could easily be remade with female actors and probably turn out better.

Take “Lethal Weapon,” for instance. Imagine Riggs and Murtaugh as female cops, one over-the-edge crazy and the other down-to-earth, taking out a drug smuggling operation using street smarts and gender crushing asides. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, are you listening? Or, even “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” Just picturing the antics two hilarious women could get into on a weed-induced quest literally makes me giddy.’

But, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”? Really?

That’s the case with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in a new comedy called “The Hustle,” a terribly faithful remake that turns out, well, terrible.

The movie centers on a lowbrow American con artist named Penny (Wilson) who is scamming her way across Europe, and Josephine (Hathaway) who is doing the same but much classier and staying put while taking advantage of wealthy marks swimming past her lavish villa on the French Riviera. When Penny discovers who Josephine is and how rich she has become she can’t wait to find out her secrets. So, Josephine kinda takes her under her wing and begins showing her the ropes, but when a young and wealthy cyber millionaire appears, the urge to snap him up in an elaborate con is too much to resist.

There’s not much to say after this because the movie’s plot follows the Steve Martin-Michael Caine movie so closely.

A word here about that movie: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” itself is a remake. The original was called “Bedtime Story” (1964) and it starred David Niven and Marlon Brando as two scam artists vying for the attentions and riches of “the sexiest chicks on the Riviera,” yup, that was the film’s tagline, and one would suppose is the best reason yet to do a sexual makeover. But, for me, Steve Martin and Michael Caine topped them and created characters so hilarious they have become indelible.

I loved that movie and have seen it a few times since because the story, the jokes and the plot are all just so rich.

The new movie, on the other hand, is a stretch on all accounts, but the worst is the strained comedy stylings of Rebel Wilson. One imagines she has a comedy range, but roles capitalizing on shape-shaming humor she has played up to now haven't displayed it. Hathaway has done comedy and has dramatic range but here she seems uncomfortable with playing straight woman to the pratfall antics of her co-star.

Perhaps "The Hustle" is an appropriate title after all.

Tempo grade: D

“Long Shot” is rated R for strong sexual content, language throughout and some drug use.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

MPAA rating: PG for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements.

Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7

The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim (Justice Smith) to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds): a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself.

Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City — a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world — they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Directed by Rob Letterman, this blend of live and animated action co-stars Nill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Suki Waterhouse, and Kathryn Newton.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

POMS

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some language/sexual references.

Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7

Martha (Diane Keaton) is an introverted woman who moves to a retirement community that has shuffleboard, golf, bowling and other activities. Hoping to be left alone, she meets Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), a fun-loving neighbor who insists that they become best pals.

After coming out of her shell, Martha and her new friend decide to form a cheerleading squad with their fellow residents. As the two women hold auditions, they soon learn that it's never too late to follow your dreams, even when the odds are stacked against you.

Directed by Zara Hayes, this comedy film co-stars Celia Weston, Rhea Perlman, Pam Grier, Bruce McGill and Alisha Boe.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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