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Hustle 2022 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Hustle is a commanding Netflix original that nudges the formulaic “Hoop Dreams” out of its comfort zone into an entertaining drama that emphasizes ambition, brotherly love (set in Philadelphia after all), and familial support, traits that could apply to any underdog struggling against immense forces.
Stanley Sugerman is a has-been scout for the ’76ers who discovers a Madrid street champion, Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez), and promotes him in the states for the NBA, eventually using his own funds to bring him over. Although the usual cliches like a cocky antagonist Kermit Wilts (Minnesota Timberwolves teammate Anthony Edwards) and a dismissive owner Vince Merrick (Ben Foster) are there, Sandler, eschewing his usual over-the-top comic shtick, gives warmth and sincerity (he loves basketball anyway) to make the challenges believable and him a hero.
Just look at the sweet meet between Stanley’s family and Bo’s to see how deftly director Jeremiah Zugar (from South Philly) swings from a saccharine take to a modest, loving union of people who understand the unifying nature of Bo and Stanley’s ambition. After seeing Sandler in his tour de force Uncut Gems (Also Netflix), I am a Sandler fan who believes Sandler has moved almost instantaneously from comic to dramatic (well, maybe that fast if you consider his performance in Punch Drunk Love).
If you’re young an unimpressed with my praise, perhaps these ingredients will help you to tune it in: Multiple cameos of other NBA stars, LeBron James a producer, and gritty, electric streetball games; the use of social media to get the attention of indifferent NBA bigwigs. For me, seeing Sandler as a warm and flawed human being play beside an equally affecting Hernangomez, is worth a warm evening enjoying, as we all did with the similarly-based Rocky, seeing humans striving to be more than they are.