Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A basketball scout discovers a phenomenal street ball player while in Spain and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back into the NBA.
Review: Adam Sandler’s love of basketball is something he’s never hidden from viewers of his movies. From his earliest days on Saturday Night Live, to the god awful Jack and Jill which features the Lakers, or maybe a much better example would be his stellar performance as a gambling addict in Uncut Gems, Sandler’s love of the game is everywhere. So it’s with no surprise Hustle feels like the one movie he must’ve waited his entire career to create.
Here Sandler plays Stanley Surgerman, a talent scout working for the Philadelphia 76ers. His life is spent travelling from country to country, sleeping in hotels and eating unhealthy food. His supportive wife Teresa (Queen Latifah) worries about him and his daughter Alex (Jordan Hull) is growing up while he’s away from home. One day his boss Rex (Robert Duvall) promotes him to assistant coach, fulfilling a lifelong dream of Surgerman (pronounced Sugarman for most of the movie).
But when Rex dies unexpectedly his son Vince (Ben Foster) forces Stanley back on the road as a scout. This is when Stanley, at his lowest, finds hope in an unexpected place. A neighbourhood basketball court in Spain where a young man named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez, real-life player with the Utah Jazz) has skills and then some. Stanley, against the orders of his boss Vince (and at his own personal expense) brings Bo to the States with the hope of signing him to the NBA.
Hustle, like most sports dramas, takes the road most travelled at this point. It’s an underdog tale the likes of Rocky and virtually every sports movie that has come since. Stanley invests all his time and energy into Bo Cruz, Bo has his own emotional issues and public ones (he has a criminal record) to overcome, and loads of famous basketball players, past and present, fill out the cast to add a sense of realism to the story. But what makes Hustle truly work is the chemistry between Sandler and Hernangomez, as well as the very real love for the game.
Sandler isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here; he’s simply enjoying the ride and wants the viewers to as well. His character is not played for laughs but for likeability and relatability, especially if you’re a fan of basketball. If you aren’t there’s still a heart-warming story to be found here (my only real complaint is the movie was a tad too long). But I think fans of the game will especially be happy with this one.
Score: 7 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!
And you can check out more great content below: