HomeEntertainmentHustle Movie Reviews: critics Praised Adam Sandler's Performance, Which Earned Excellent Reviews!

Hustle Movie Reviews: critics Praised Adam Sandler’s Performance, Which Earned Excellent Reviews!

Jeremiah Zagar directed Hustle, a 2022 American sports drama film based on a script by Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. Adam Sandler, Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, Juancho Hernangómez, and Robert Duvall feature in the film.

On June 3, 2022, Hustle was released in select cinemas, with a Netflix release on June 8, 2022. Critics praised Adam Sandler’s performance, which earned excellent reviews.

Storyline

hustle movie reviews

Sandler returns to the boards in his latest Netflix film, “Hustle,” and the boards are all over the world in the first minutes. Sandler portrays Stanley Sugarman, a Philadelphia 76ers talent scout. He’s on and off planes and in and out of hotels, keeping an eye on residents across the United States and Europe. On a Zoom chat with his wife, Teresa (Queen Latifah), he exclaims, “You’re killing yourself.” He replies cynically, “That’s the idea.”

In Sandler’s meticulous, low-key portrayal, Stanley’s self-pity is more subtext than text. Stanley forcefully advises team owner Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall) not to sign a German player at a meeting. Rex’s son Vince (Ben Foster, bearded and head shaved, suggesting a real lack of vanity by looking appropriately silly) wants the guy, and Stanley refuses. Before giving Stanley the coveted assistant coach position, Rex discovers this.

The gig isn’t going to last long. When Rex dies, Vince takes charge, and the twerp demotes Stanley, telling him that if he returns to the road and discovers a missing piece, he can reclaim his coaching position.

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Stanley is entertained in Mallorca, Spain, by an old acquaintance who wants him to become an agent. Stanley says, “No way.” He’d like to return to his previous position as an assistant coach. Trying to hold on to a fantasy? He claims, “Guys in their fifties don’t have dreams.” “They have nightmares and eczema,” says the narrator. Despite this, He sees a local player in Spain who has the goods. Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez, a real-life player currently with the Utah Jazz), a tall drink of water with a lot of raw talent, a little of a temper, and, as we learn later, a rap sheet, is a tall drink of water with a lot of raw talent, a bit of a temper, and, as we discover later, a rap sheet. Vince is a skeptic, but Stanley insists on bringing the player to the United States, and the player is soon on his own.

hustle movie reviews

At this point, Jeremiah Zagar’s film becomes a reimagining of “Rocky,” told from the perspective of coach Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith). He works at polishing down Bo’s rough edges, completing stair runs in the wilds of South Philly, and teaching Bo how to manage trash talk, which proves to be a pretty persistent issue, putting his family’s lives on the line (fortunately, his wife and teen daughter believe in him). Stanley even screams, “Yeah, Rocky!” after Bo reaches a certain goal.

Just when Bo is about to show the basketball world what he’s got, Bo and Stanley are the victims of cruel treachery. This is a process film with twists—and, of course, a happy ending. The solution to one of Bo’s difficulties is extremely 21st century, paired with the power to arrange all-star cameos—daughter Stanley’s Alex, who is considering going to film school, concocts a viral video showing Bo in action, which is introduced by Julius “Dr. J.” Irving himself.

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Review:

Because Adam Sandler rarely ventures too far from his man-child comic comfort zone, his more somber outings, such as Punch-Drunk Love and Uncut Gems, are particularly satisfying.

The Meyerowitz Stories, directed by Noah Baumbach, is an example of a rare comedy in which the actor’s schtick is contained and channeled into deep characterization (New and Selected). In Hustle, Sandler plays basketball scout Stanley Sugarman, a man whose contagious zeal for the sport keeps striking a brick wall of defeat.

hustle movie reviews

The Netflix flick succeeds in adhering to the traditional standards of inspirational sports dramas while providing plenty of originality and individuals to root for.

At first appearance, this appears to be a job for hire for young filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar, who made the transition from documentary to narrative features with We the Animals, one of Sundance 2018’s finds. In its depiction of a traumatic upbringing in the scorching heat of a rural area, that film was poetic and impressionistic, evoking similarities to Terrence Malick.

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Hustle is more tied to the nuts and bolts of traditional storytelling, but Zagar and cinematographer Zak Mulligan’s tactile ability to capture bodies in motion yields its own kind of visual poetry here, and the director’s warm observation of family dynamics infuses the heart into what’s essentially a drama about two men trying to overcome bad luck and secure their redemption arcs.

The impediments required by the sports drama screenplay guidelines are primarily provided by Vince, who dismisses Stanley’s find owing to his lack of team experience. There’s also a past legal violation that shows the Spanish discovery is violent, which is proven when he reacts to boastful player Kermit Wilts’ (Anthony Edwards) teasing during a showcase game. Stanley’s faith in Bo, combined with his frustration with Vince’s arrogance and inflexibility, leads him to resign from his position and fund Bo’s training himself, upsetting Teresa.

Although Bo does not jog up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the early morning workouts pay homage to Rocky and the tried-and-true sports movie tradition of the rough-diamond rookie facing off against the pros.

These sequences succeed because Stanley and Bo develop a genuine friendship and mutual respect, two men who share a passion for sporting achievement as well as doing right by their families. Both men are essentially kind folks, with enough humility and awareness of their foibles to make them good company for the film’s well-paced two hours.

Zagar (a South Philly native) and Mulligan capture the sport’s action in all of its ferocious thrill, matching the exquisite footwork with fast editing from editors Tom Costain, Brian M. Robinson, and Keiko Deguchi. After Vince publicly discredits Bo, Stanley uses streetball challenges to rebuild his name, and the amateur video turns him into a YouTube celebrity. The use of Spanish pop and hip-hop, which includes a number of Philadelphia musicians, keeps these scenes humming, and Dan Deacon’s superb electronic score helps to keep things moving.

Some of the boilerplate pep-talk speeches, a miracle last chance timed precisely after a despondent airport parting is examples of when Hustle veers into cliché. However, the film has a depth of feeling and an unmistakable genuineness that keeps you watching. Even the inevitable win is muted.

In We the Animals, the filmmaker demonstrated his ability to coax complex shading performances from nonprofessional performers, and he obtains creditable work from Hernangómez, who is incredibly appealing and magnetic in his debut cinematic appearance. Edwards, a former Minnesota Timberwolves teammate, is equally convincing as Bo’s main antagonist, while NBA player-turned-sports commentator Kenny Smith, who plays Leon Rich, a sports agent whose loyalty to Stanley dates back to their college basketball days, is similarly at ease in front of the camera.

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