First Run
Published in

First Run

TLDR: Hustle (2022)

Sandler’s back to the NBA.

Netflix

Plot: After discovering a once-in-a-lifetime player with a rocky past abroad, a down on his luck basketball scout takes it upon himself to bring the phenom to the States without his team’s approval. Against the odds, they have one final shot to prove they have what it takes to make it in the NBA.

Direction: Jeremiah Zagar, a Philly native, has experience working with non-professional actors and crafting documentaries, so he was the right man for the job. Trying to make this feel as authentic as possible with a cast that largely consists of real NBA personalities making appearances is no easy feat and he pulls it off.

Screenplay: It’s a little predictable. Low lows get lower until the finale where everyone gets what they want. This movie is about a lot more than the script.

Performances: I have to stop doubting Sandler. You have to stop doubting Sandler. Also special shoutout to real NBA player Juancho Hernangómez who plays Bo Cruz, Sandler’s protege.

Best moment: Kenny The Jet Smith pretending he’s not Kenny The Jet Smith and trying to play a real character.

Fun fact: Almost 100 real NBA players, coaches, execs, analysts and more play themselves. That’s gotta be the most ever, right? The next closest is probably Space Jam.

Imaginary accolade: Second Best Adam Sandler Movie That Involves NBA Basketball

Everything is too long. Is it too long? It didn’t HAVE to be two hours, but it doesn’t hurt the movie.

Rating: Three Sandlers Playing Basketball Out Of Five

Credit: Plot synopsis from Letterboxd via TMDb.

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Patrick J. Regal

Patrick J. Regal

Educator. Artist. Founder and Editor of Feature Presentation. Instagram: patrickjregal