Hustle (2022) – film review


Directed by Jeremiah Zagar.
Starring Adam Sandler, Robert Duvall, Ben Foster, Queen Latifah, Jordan Hull, Juancho Hernangomez, María Botto, Ainhoa ​​Pillet, Kenny Smith, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Jaleel White, Raúl Castillo and Anthony Edwards .



After discovering a one-time player with a bumpy overseas past, a lucky basketball scout (Adam Sandler) takes it upon himself to bring the phenomenon to the States without his team’s approval. Against all odds, they have one last chance to prove they have what it takes to make it in the NBA.


You know Adam Sandler is at an interesting point in his career when even one of his Netflix-distributed Happy Madison productions is a dramatic vehicle with only traces of the comedian’s trademark youthful humor. Hurry also sees Adam Sandler working with director Jeremiah Zagar (this is his second feature film, his debut being an underrated gem about kids navigating a toxic household and embracing some of those traits, We the animals), this one comes on three years after collaborating with the Safdie brothers Unpolished gems what the achievement of his career yielded. Well, Adam Sandler has typically always done serious one-offs with established filmmakers (his collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson on Beat drunk love, which is probably his second-best performance), but considering that one of his upcoming projects appears to be a drama about an astronaut, it’s safe to say that these more demanding roles are becoming more common. Yes, murder mystery 2 is still on the horizon (God help us all), but it’s a pleasure to see Adam Sandler embrace his talents and put the work into more accomplished, rewarding acting twists to flesh out compelling characters.

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Meanwhile, Will Fetters and Taylor Materne’s screenplay clouds the screen work. The writing experience of the latter amounts to storylines for the NBA 2K Games (probably career mode), which makes perfect sense considering the dialogue and situations come across as amateurish and with testy believability. Perhaps the most confusing thing about this statement is that the script already draws on several sports film tropes and fails to execute the classics with skill. Even the crowd-pleasing finale is hard to get excited about, especially as the third act begins to spin the story in circles until it drags itself across the finish line.


Adam Sandler is a fictional former basketball player-turned-NBA talent scout, Stanley Sugarman (ironically, a name that would lead you to believe Hurry might be one of Sandler’s lazier comedies). He’s sacrificed a lot of time away from his wife and daughter (played by Queen Latifah and Jordan Hull) in around ten years to strengthen the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s all set to change, however, when he’s promoted to assistant coach, at least until new management (Ben Foster, more of a rogue obstacle than a real character) shows up and sends Stanley on another international scouting tour, promising he’ll continue his rise will if he can find the missing piece to championship success.

Hurry It’s also about family, with a sweet on-screen marriage between Adam Sander and Queen Latifah that takes their humor and tones it down, making them a fun but human couple. Stanley isn’t happy about constantly missing his daughter Alex’s birthdays, but there is loving encouragement behind her ambitions as a filmmaker. However, he lives and breathes the NBA (and because LeBron James is also a producer, there’s plenty of involvement and many cameos, including a highly amusing one by Dirk Nowitzki), hoping to be a part of the organization in some capacity beyond scouting . There’s also a redemption arc of sorts as Stanley has a scarred hand and a nefarious past that comes into play as the film progresses.

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In Spain, Stanley meets unknown 7-foot streetball sensation Bo Cruz (played by real-life NBA star Juancho Hernangomez), who ticks all the boxes he’s looking for to make the Philadelphia 76ers an elite team. Of course, Bo is interested in coming to America for various events and training ahead of the NBA draft, but he’s a single father of a young daughter and can’t see leaving her behind. Despite this, his mother begs him to pursue his dream. It should be noted that Juancho Hernangomez is an extremely likeable underdog screen presence. Beneath his towering physique is a sensibility that feels genuine. He and Sandler also develop a charming connection, whether through flashy and energetically composed workout montages or through jokes about the giant’s hotel room service spending habits. Obviously there is a juxtaposition to draw from between these two families and how each of them becomes a father. The problem is that Hurry is also stuck in the cliche sports movie mode rather than expanding on those family dynamics and how they overlap and differ.


Around the time Ben Foster taunts Stanley that he’ll miss another of his daughter’s birthdays while he goes exploring again (there’s a whole subplot about him not wanting to design Bo Cruz, which doesn’t make much sense, but the Things are the way they are because this movie wants as many roadblocks as possible, no matter how illogical) Hurry feels like inauthentic derivation clashing with a story of two families that could have been more heartwarming had they been given more time. Still, it’s easy to deal with Hurry despite these weaknesses given the strong performances, but even that proves tedious when it gets about 30 minutes too long. The performances are a hit; the writing misses the net.

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Flickering Myth Rating – Movie: ★★★ / Movie: ★★★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow mine Twitter or letterboxd or email me at [email protected]

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