Adam Sandler is stepping away from the comedic roles that made him so popular and reconnecting with his dramatic side in his upcoming movie on Netflix. He’s also tapping into his basketball fandom, as he joined forces with LeBron James to produce the sports drama Hustle. Sandler stars as Philadelphia 76ers scout Stanley Sugarman, who has dreams of coaching, and is working to get overseas player Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez) recruited to the NBA. Critics have screened the movie, so fans will have a better idea what to expect when Hustle becomes available to Netflix subscribers on June 8.
The Saturday Night Live alum has impressed audiences in his dramatic roles before in films including Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, and Uncut Gems, making Adam Sandler’s dramatic renaissance in Hustle pretty highly anticipated. It doesn't hurt that he has a cast full of talent alongside him in Queen Latifah, Robert Duvall, Ben Foster, and a number of NBA players. Let’s take a look at how the critics enjoyed the movie, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Hustle. Eric Eisenberg rates the movie with 3 stars out of 5, saying the script doesn't stray too far outside the generic sports movie formula, but the direction and characters make up for it to the point that maybe all of Sandler's movies should be related to basketball:
Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm rates the movie 6 out of 10, saying it's charming, even though it doesn't bring anything new to the world of sports drama. Jeremiah Zagar's direction is surprisingly energetic, and real-life NBA player Juancho Hernangómez has a stiff awkwardness that works for his character:
David Ehrlich of IndieWire grades Hustle a B, calling the dramedy "affecting," and "immaculately made." It may not be the strongest of Adam Sandler's forays into drama, and it may not be the best redemption story ever told, but this review says its confidence puts it firmly in the game:
The reviews are all praising the direction of Jeremiah Zagar, which, along with the likeability of the main characters, seems to be making all the difference in what could just be another run-of-the-mill sports redemption story. Robert Abele of The Wrap is among those critics who also hopes to continue to see Adam Sandler evolve away from "minor-league comedy boorishness." He wrote:
Owen Gleiberman of Variety calls Hustle a "heart-in-the-throat basketball drama" that succeeds in part because of the real-life NBA players, but also because of the authenticity that Adam Sandler brings to the role of Stanley Sugarman:
It seems like Adam Sandler lived up to the expectations of the critics. If you’re excited to see him in this dramatic basketball movie, you don’t have to wait long or go far. Hustle will be available for streaming starting on Wednesday, June 8 on Netflix. Be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what movies are coming soon to theaters.
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Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.