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“Hustle” (2022) Movie Review: The Good and The Bad

An amateur film review writer who likes pretty much every film genre.

Hustle (2022) is an entertaining basketball movie that sheds light on the sport's culture and the struggles that players face playing the game.

Hustle (2022) starring Adam Sandler

Hustle (2022) starring Adam Sandler

Hustle tells the story of Stanley (Adam Sandler), a basketball scout who discovers a fantastic street ball player while in Spain. He asks his team for permission to pick the player, but his plea is denied. He refuses to give up and returns to Philadelphia with the phenom. Now he must teach Bo (Juancho Hernangomez) how to play professionally to transform both of their lives in the future.

There are a lot of things to like about the movie. However, nothing is perfect. Despite the positives, there is a negative part about this movie.

With that in mind, let us begin with the good and the bad of Hustle.

The Good

1. Adam Sandler’s Strong Performance

Adam Sandler has followed in the footsteps of Nicolas Cage. They had excellent roles in good movies, then a number of bad roles in bad movies, and then finally rekinded their career with a superb performance in a well-made film.

Sandler has already made a comeback with Uncut Gems (2019). In Hustle, he continues his winning streak. Sandler's outstanding starring performance as Stanley, a basketball fan who loves his family, made it worthwhile to see the plot unfold.

You can easily follow his character throughout the story.

2. Jeremiah Zagar’s Brilliant Direction

There's a lot to like about this movie's directing. Jeremiah Zagar (We the Animals) performed an outstanding job in what may have been his most important role as a filmmaker to date. Everything in he did here is excellent, including the soundtrack, camera placement/movement, and editing. The manner he filmed the movie, though, is the primary attraction.

His filming style is like that of a live basketball game, in which the camera travels around at first in search of the person it is looking for. When that happens, the camera zooms in to focus on the subject. Then there's a view of players in action, which is mixed with excellent editing to create a flow that allows the audience to grasp what's going on.

It was the technical aspects of the film that made it feel true and real. And it's all because of Jeremiah's directing technique.

Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugarman

Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugarman

3. A Good Basketball Story

The story, while not original by any means, is still well written. Will Fetters (A Star is Born) and Taylor Materne (NBA 2K20) performed an excellent job of integrating their respective talents for the film.

With well-written characters and a clear plot, Fetters manages to bring the human aspect of things to the fore. Materne, on the other hand, is obviously in charge of ensuring that the basketball side of things is portrayed in a decent manner.

The story is good and simple for anybody who loves sports to follow.

4. Jam-Packed with Cameos

Hustle has a small cast of supporting characters. From the Hollywood side at least. Instead, many supporting parts are offered to genuine NBA players (NBA).

To mention a few, there's Anthony Edwards (Kermit Wilts) and Moritz Wagner (as Haas). There are several of them, either as full-fledged characters with plot arcs or as cameos.

NBA fans will undoubtedly be ecstatic to watch their stars on the big screen.

The Bad

1. The Basketball Slang Can Be Confusing

To begin with, the movie uses a lot of basketball-specific terminologies right away (obviously). That isn't always a terrible thing. However, it may pose a difficulty for moviegoers who have likely heard about the good reviews this film has garnered from reviewers.

When it comes to the basketball side of things, the movie doesn't spend any time describing what the characters are saying. They presume that those viewing are already fans of the sport.

That's smart, but it's also awful since you're preventing your film from expanding and finding a new audience.

Juancho Hernangomez as Bo going against Anthony Edwards as Kermit Wilts

Juancho Hernangomez as Bo going against Anthony Edwards as Kermit Wilts

2. A Weak Third Act

The biggest issue for the movie is with its third act. The first act is solid. The second is better and arguably is when the story hit its climax.

After that, the story didn’t come together the way it should be. From the get-go, Bo’s journey has been about preparing and participating in a tournament so he could be drafted. That should have been the final act.

However, by the time the final act arrived, a random event happens and then, everybody gets what they want. The closure of Bo’s journey just felt cheap and anti-climactic.

Words of Recommendation

Despite the unsatisfying conclusion, the story did conclude in a decent way. You still get a good story that is presented by talented people. If you love basketball, then this is a must-watch.

Hustle gets a solid 7/10.

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