Blerd Film Club: The Hustle

If someone told you Charlie Murphy, John Witherspoon, Tiny Lister, Lunelle, David Allen Grier and Tony Cox were all in a movie together you'd have high hopes wouldn't you? Well, I've got some good news for you. The Hustle has all of those people and even more. The film came out back in 2008, but is listed as 2011 in some places, meaning there was probably a second release.

The Hustle picks up with Junior (Murphy) and his best friend Freddy (Al Shearer) working as exterminators. They also run a scam with the customers where they steal a few things. Junior reminds us that he is a certifiable kleptomaniac and he saw Freddy at the meetings too. We learn that Freddy is living at home with his mother and daughter but his mother wants him to do better and constantly reminds him, he's not achieving in life. At one point Freddy tries to steal 10,000 from an Asian gang. He trips up in the park and the money goes everywhere.

While doing a job at a church, the two are mistaken for substitute preachers when they see Freddy readjust Junior's bad back. They're fired from their jobs right after that, for stealing. Then they're kidnapped and tortured with kendo sticks by a generic Asian bad guy. They really leaned on the stereotypes with this one being told at one point "if you mess with one Asian business you mess with them all," because this is a completely different gang than earlier.

The two work as preachers to raise the money and make some changes to the church, that actually work out for the better. In the end, the two are welcomed into the church, and gifted the money to pay back the gang.

It's a funny movie, but not a good movie. The only thing that saves it is the comedic timing of most of the actors. The actual story is basically the same as First Sunday (2008) which might explain why this was re-released at a later date. Twin movies happen all time, with one flopping and the other being great. Antz and A Bugs Life, Shark Tales and Finding Nemo. It just happens. The problem is that this one doesn't have much extra substance. They lean on a few running jokes, which I think are essential to comedy films because of the rule of threes. But, I promise they asked if Freddy was bisexual at least twenty times.

A lot of the jokes were just outdated, even if I had watched it back in 2008. Things just happened with no explanation. At one point they broke up a fight and told a girl don't do that anymore, then she just shows up at the end in the church coir with no explanation. Freddy's daughter and mother also show up at the end, but he never mentioned to them he was working as a preacher. If you're looking for a way to remember the comedic legacies of Charlie Murphy and John Witherspoon, don't let this be it.

You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.
Blerd Film Club: The Hustle  Blerd Film Club: The Hustle Reviewed by Darrell S. on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 Rating: 5

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