Movie #61 2022: Hustle (2022)

Awwww yeah. Here we go. Sports movies are my jam. Remember the Titans? One of the most uplifting, feel good films of all time if you ask me. I honestly don’t even care which sport takes the central role; I’m enthralled by every single one of them. So when movie funny man Adam Sandler released Hustle earlier this year, it immediately went onto my watchlist.

Hustle just so happens to focus on basketball, in which Sandler plays former player Stanley Sugerman. He is now a basketball scout who focuses most of his time on bringing in non-US nationals into the league. When on a trip to Spain, he discovers unknown player Bo Cruz, who simply hustles on the streets in order to win money through his talent for basketball. Sugerman brings Cruz to the USA in an attempt to get his beloved Philadelphia 76ers to draft him. When they are not interested however, Sugerman drops everything to make sure his progeny makes it big.

If I were being super concise, I’d just say this: “Did someone say formulaic sports movie? Excellent, 10/10 no notes.” However, the point of a movie review is clearly to expand on that, and giving Hustle full marks would be nothing short of hyperbole. So, without further ado…

As you may have gathered, anyone who knows me personally knows I love a sports movie. It could be the worst sports movie ever made and I’d love it. Okay, so maybe this one isn’t really a 10/10, but it was – and this is not my bias talking – actually pretty decent. Was it Coach Carter levels of satisfying basketball movie? Not quite. Yet it brought a smile to my face so many times. You absolutely do not need me to tell you how it ends, and it’s as predictable as they come, but that doesn’t really matter on this occasion.

When it comes down to it, the reason you’ll be invested in this movie is it’s ridiculously likeable characters. Adam Sandler brings a little of his Uncut Gems character to this, albeit not being quite the wild ride that his 2019 performance was, and I would actually die for Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez). Add in Queen Latifah as Sandler’s long suffering wife, and this cast is a doozy.

Throw in some competently shot sports sequences and hey presto, you have a pretty good sports film. In all seriousness, there’s not really anything fancy to report here; the cinematography is pretty standard, the script is passable but not all that original, and the story itself is almost a carbon copy of most sports movies. And still, I don’t really care. It was extremely watchable throughout and I regret nothing.

Though the two hour runtime might be a bit extensive, there was rarely a moment in which boredom crept in, so I stand corrected on that front. Absolutely not the best sports movie (Remember!!! the!!! Titans!!!), but I’m still, and forever will be, a sucker for any sports movie that graces my screen. So maybe you should take this review with a pinch of salt.

Hustle is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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