Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Adam Sandler has two personas. There’s the comedian that does lightweight comedies like The Ridiculous 6, The Wrong Missy, and Hubie Halloween. Then there’s the thespian that does serious output like The Meyerowitz Stories and Uncut Gems. Hustle is from the latter category. Back in January of 2020, Netflix extended Sandler’s $275 million production deal to an additional four movies. The streaming service proclaimed that viewers spent 2 billion hours watching his films. There’s no question he’s still a popular star. His latest debuted on June 8. Over two weeks later, it’s still in the Top 5.

Hustle is a rather amiable sports drama about Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler), a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. He lives life on the road, trying to discover the next basketball star. Being away can negatively impact his wife Teresa (Queen Latifah) and daughter Alex (Jordan Hull). Yet they also pitch in to help when needed. Things change for the better when Stanley discovers a talented phenom in Spain named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez). The saga revolves around Stanley’s attempt to prepare him for the NBA draft.

Adam Sandler’s enthusiasm for professional basketball shows. He’s in dynamic mode. The actor gives a warm, human performance as the beleaguered scout. He engages our sympathies, and you genuinely want to root for the guy. Sandler has excellent chemistry with a newcomer to acting. Juancho Hernangómez is a relative unknown in the NBA. Juancho may lack acting confidence during the dramatic scenes, but that quality works for this character. He’s supposed to be naive and unsure of himself in this world. There is a sincerity about him and Juancho is convincing as someone who can play basketball really well.

Hustle is not going to win any awards for storytelling. It’s a formulaic offering in the world of traditional sports tales, but it does have a lot of heart. The movie has various predictable obstacles they must face. Stanley butts heads with the owner of the 76ers, portrayed by Ben Foster. Meanwhile, Bo Cruz is taunted by a fellow prospect — also realized by a professional athlete named Anthony Edwards. Bo needs to learn to keep his emotions in check to succeed in the game. The account feels authentic as it has plenty of basketball action and is filled with cameos of athletes and notables from the NBA. This is such a winning presentation. As a crowd-pleaser embraced by audiences and critics alike, Hustle is a slam dunk.


7 Responses to “Hustle”

  1. I usually avoid Adam Sandler movies, most seem ridiculous. This one felt different. Like you said, it was heartwarming. I was rooting for him. I really enjoyed this. 3 1/2 ⭐️


  2. I’m in the same boat. This was really likable and Sandler is so much better when he’s not doing some mutant version of his SNL personality. This has the benefit of Uncut Gems-quality Adam Sandler but being so much more pleasant to endure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Mutant version of his SNL personality” is a good way to describe some of his characters. 😂 This was sincere and sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And by the way, congrats to your Golden State Warriors on another championship! Not sure if you watched..?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did. And thanks! Golden State Warriors have made 6 of the last 8 finals and won 4. It’s kind of incredible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been really fun to watch, even as I pulled for Boston Celtics (Grant Williams, #12, went to the same school as I did — University of Tennessee, so I had more of a “personal” investment in that side). But I love the Warriors and the way they play. There’ll be a documentary on them when all is said and done.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a great rebound film for Sandler. He still has it in those non-goofy roles. Great film.

    Liked by 1 person

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