There are two things I’m a sucker for, sports movies and post 2000 Adam Sandler movies (but not The Water Boy), so naturally, Hustle has been on my radar for a while. Now, if you knew me, neither of those things make sense either, especially me loving anything involving sports. But Remember the Titans, The Blindside and A League of Their Own have a special place in my heart.
Adam Sandler won me over in Big Daddy, but I haven’t always been a fan of his over-the-top comedy. Thankfully, Hustle had none of the campy, cheesy, humour, and plenty of the tender moments and quick wit I’ve always loved.
Hustle follows Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler), an excellent basketball scout, who has some ups and downs in the NBA. While he is out on the road, he finds an astounding player in Spain, Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez), and believes he could be the key to getting to the top. Of course there’s a bad guy, Vince Merrick (Ben Foster), who gets in the way, and we instantly hate him, so good job Foster!
“What surprised me most about Hustle was Juancho Hernangomez.”
Following the standard inspirational sport movie guidelines, Hustle turns out almost exactly as expected from the first few minutes on. But I don’t consider this a bad thing, because when you jump into a film like this, chances are you know what you’re walking into, and it’s what you’re in the mood for. Something with a few laughs, a little bit of heart, and of course a good training montage, is always a recipe for a good time, and Hustle met the challenge.
Even though we aren’t reinventing the wheel, Sandler still hits the mark through a spectrum of emotions. We won’t see any Oscars, but his performance is enough to keep viewers engaged and on his side. Queen Latifa plays his wife, Teresa Sugerman. She is charming, but the character doesn’t serve any real purpose outside of showing Sugerman is a family man. What surprised me most about Hustle was Juancho Hernangomez.
I didn’t realize that the actor playing a basketball player from Spain, was actually a basketball player from Spain. In fact, Hernangomez is on the NBA team Utah Jazz, and the Spain men’s national basketball team. Now I’m not sure if he is a great NBA player that is a half decent actor, or an actor that is an excellent player. Hernangomez plays a great brooding athlete, has some minor comedic timing and even lights up when he sees his on-screen daughter.
Hustle is a story we all know, have seen before, and will absolutely see again. Sandler plays within the same range we have come to know, and the supporting characters bring plenty to the screen to enjoy. Hustle is a feel good story that tugs on your heart strings, with feel good characters, and you can’t go wrong with that. This is definitely worth a watch if you’re binge streaming on Netflix this weekend.