Hustle (2022) second opinion review – a slam dunk for Netflix!

By Kira Comerford
Published: June 9, 2022 (Last updated: 2 days ago)
Netflix film Hustle (2022)


Hustle certainly doesn’t reinvent the sports genre, but when a film’s as well put-together as this, it really doesn’t need to.

This review of the Netflix film Hustle (2022) does not contain spoilers. 

Hustle follows washed-up basketball talent scout Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler) who discovers a gifted player on the streets of Spain and eyes a future for him within the NBA. However, with neither of the two of them really falling in line with the image desired by the 76ers, Stanley has to fight for his protegé’s place in order to deliver the dream he sold to them.

Like with so many films in the sports movie genre, Hustle is a real crowd pleaser. Sport in real life brings people together, and somehow films based in that world manage to do the exact same thing almost every time. This is one that is done a little differently, however, as the bulk of the cast is made up of actual NBA players and coaches. Don’t let that put you off — as a non-basketball follower, this was not something I knew until the end credits rolled, which should speak massively for the performances on offer here. 

On the point of performances, I really love the turn that Adam Sandler’s career has taken over the last few years. The straighter roles we’re seeing him appear in now make it seem like he’s become someone’s new idea, similar to that which we saw with Matthew McConaughey’s career around his True Detective era. Stanley wasn’t totally dry; he definitely had a smart, quick wit about him, but there was more to him than just that and I have to say I think it really suited Sandler.

Don’t get me wrong, Hustle doesn’t aim to reinvent the wheel for the most part. The plot is very typical of the sports genre, with the usual trials and tribulations afoot, but it’s done so well that it doesn’t really matter that we’ve seen the method applied to so many other sports before it. And let’s be realistic — for how many great films there have been about sports and sports stars, it would be very easy for something like this to aim for the sky, miss, and then appear very mediocre in comparison. I think Hustle knew where its strengths lay in its characters and their own individual stories and leaned on them brilliantly.

Of course, what is a sports film without the sport itself? The basketball sequences that were absolutely littered throughout Hustle were great. I loved how they place you right in the middle of the action, and absolutely nailed keeping up with the fast-paced nature of the game. There was also a huge training montage, and whilst I did feel it was a bit drawn out, it cannot be understated how much it nailed the vibe of what those sequences are all about. The whole thing from start to finish could’ve been pulled straight from a sportswear marketing campaign.

Whilst Hustle is undoubtedly a film about basketball, I couldn’t help but feel an awful lot of love for Philadelphia emanating from it too. It seemed to really go out of its way to showcase the City of Brotherly Love, with night-time drives and shots of the streets and the murals dotted amongst them feeling like they were intended to do more than just set the scene. I think it fits massively with the idea that fans make sports teams and sportspeople who they are in terms of their status, and it felt almost like a thank you to them in a way.

Overall, Hustle is a great sports movie that’s done a little differently thanks to it’s immense usage of so many actual sports stars. It has all of the usual traits you’d expect to see in a film such as this in buckets, and really is just a fantastic, uplifting watch. It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to recommend to film to people, and this may just put an end to that spell.

What did you think of the Netflix film Hustle (2022)? Comment below. 

You can watch this film with a subscription to Netflix. 

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