HUSTLE – Review by T.J. Callahan

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Hustle is Adam Sandler’s Basketball Diaries.

Adam Sandler is trying to pull one over on us in Hustle. The 5’9” out of shape funny man is playing a former basketball player at Temple. Really? Temple Emanu El maybe, but certainly not the university.

But Stanley Sugarman, played by Sandler, was #22, the Double Deuce, who’s career ended after an unfortunate accident stopped him from hooping and left him to forge a rather lengthy career as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. After years on the road, Sugarman finally was given the coveted assistant coach’s job, but just as soon as he got behind the desk, his chair was yanked out from under him and he was back on the hunt looking for that once in a lifetime player to help him get back into the NBA and make his mark.

Hustle also wants us to believe Sandler is married to Queen Latifah, as a former Temple track star turned chef, mom, and patient, supportive spouse. Juancho Hernangomez, of the Utah Jazz, plays the street baller from Spain, Bo Cruz, that becomes Sugarman’s meal ticket back to glory. He makes sure Bo knows the ropes and trains Cruz throughout Philly ala Sly Stalone’s Rocky, until he’s ready for action.

Robert Duval, as the 76ers owner, is in Hustle just long enough to leave us with the inspirational movie tagline: “Never back down.” Also making appearances are stars Ben Foster, Jaleel White and Heidi Gardner as well as a host of NBA players, coaches and owners past and present.

Hustle is fast paced, predictable and crowd pleasing. The Waterboy finally grew up to be the coach. Sandler tones down the profanity from 2019’s Uncut Gems and turns up the witty charm despite having no chemistry with Latifah.

This film is for hoop fans, but its an easy watch for anybody. My husband, Ricky gives Hustle 2 eyes open. I give it a 6.5 at the buzzer. See it in theaters now and on Netflix stating June 8th.

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T. J. Callahan

Longtime Houston radio personality, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for The Sam Malone Show on AM 1070 The Answer in Houston. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and streaming on Radio Brave. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her live every Thursday morning at 9:20 central on KNTH. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association, the Houston Film Critics Society and a board member and 2017 inductee to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.