Title – Hustle (2022)
Director – Jeremiah Zagar (We the Animals)
Cast – Adam Sandler, Ben Foster, Robert Duvall, Queen Latifah, Juancho Hernangomez, Anthony Edwards
Plot – While visiting Spain, down on his luck basketball scout Stanley Sugerman (Sandler) meets the talented Bo Cruz (Hernangomez), a talent that he sees making it in the NBA while allowing Stanley to finally make it in the industry he adores.
“Do you love this game?”
Review by Eddie on 14/06/2022
Much like the comfort food we see Adam Sandler’s basketball scout Scott Sugerman consuming within the first 10 minutes of the well-liked comedian’s newest dramedy, Hustle never tries to deliver anything outside of the expected or ordinary but to like the food we know and trust no matter the circumstances, this latest Netflix original is an easy and pleasant watch that is sure to put a smile on the face of those that partake in it.
An avid and vocal fan of all things basketball, Hustle was no doubt a passion project for Sandler, who here teams up with fellow producer LeBron James and up and coming director Jeremiah Zagar to follow a stereotypical trial against the odds tale as his down on his luck Scott finds potential redemption in a life of almost’s as he discovers Juancho Hernangomez’s Spanish street basketballer Bo Cruz per chance, with Scott seeing potential in a raw talent that appears to posses what it takes too make it big in the NBA.
From the moment the first meeting between Scott and Bo takes place you get a fairly good sense of where things in Hustle are going but thanks to Sandler’s impressively dialled back performance (far removed from his wired turn in Netflix classic Uncut Gems) and his chemistry with professional basketball player Hernangomez, Hustle has an easy going flow throughout and Zagar, with help from the likes of NBA stars Anthony Edwards (here known as Kermit), Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle and Julius Erving, manages to instil a lot of energy into the basketball focused moments that are likely to please diehard fans of the sport from across the globe.
In some ways narratively it would’ve been nice to see Hustle try and subvert expectations slightly, coinciding with the fact Cruz isn’t always the most layered of characters compared to Sugerman’s multilayered backstory and motivations, while Sugerman’s relationship with his loving wife played by Queen Latifah and teenage daughter Alex played by Jordan Hull feels like a plotline that was potentially going to play a larger role in proceedings but gets shunned mostly to the side in favor of training montages and cameos.
These are minor quibbles however for a film that in the most part remains enjoyable and effective throughout and gives Sandler one of his most accessible and memorable characters of the modern era, proving once more than when his passionate about a project, he can deliver top notch performances in a range of varied projects.
Final Say –
A surefire winner for basketball fans and those seeking feel good entertainment, Hustle is another Netflix/Sandler winner that stays true to itself and delivers exactly what is promised.
3 1/2 pairs of work boots out of 5