Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Hustle is slam dunk entertainment

Adam Sandler continues his successful business relationship with Netflix in the highly entertaining sports drama, Hustle. NBA superstar LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter produce the film under their entertainment development and production company Springhill. At the same time, Jeremiah Zager directs the film from a screenplay by Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. 

Stanley Sugerman’s (Adam Sandler) love for basketball is unparalleled. Still, the travel-weary Philadelphia 76ers scout with higher ambitions of being a coach remains stuck on the road looking for the next unknown talent. His search around the world leads him to Spain when he discovers Bo Cruz (NBA player Juancho Hernangómez), an incredible streetball player with a troubled past. Stanley and Bo connect on and off the court, with their passion for the game and as loving family men who want to prove they can win in basketball and life. With the support of Stanley’s wife, Teresa (Queen Latifah), can the underdogs come out on top?

One of the most tangible things about Hustle is that director Jeremiah Zager and screenwriters Taylor Materne and Will Fetters have crafted a film that even viewers who don’t care for basketball can enjoy. Employing the underdog narrative for its story structure, Hustle hits the ground running and doesn’t let up.

I also loved how the film has authentic has autheinc acting from the athletes in the movie. Some may argue that the b-ballers in the film are just playing themselves. Kudos to Juancho and Anthony Edwards, who make great rivals in the movie. I was also fond of Kenny Smith, who has excellent chemistry with Adam Sandler.

Diehard basketball fans will appreciate the plethora of cameos in the films from Shaquille O’Neal, Dirk Nowitzki, Mark Cuban, Trae Young, Mark Jackson, Pat Croce, Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Doc Rivers, Julius Erving, and Allen Iverson. There’s also the bonus of playground legends such as Grayson “The Professor” Boucher and Larry “Bone Collector” William. The actual actors in the film are all solid, with Ben Foster standing out as a villain. I also want to shout out Jaleel White, who is all too brief as a member of the 76ers organization. 

It’s hard to believe that Adam Sandler is now age 55 and, outside of the occasional hark back to juvenile humor, may now have a second career in the drama genre. Featuring outstanding performances from the cast and impressive NBA Action, Hustle is one film you don’t want to miss.

Final Grade: A-

Hustle is available to stream on Netflix tomorrow, June 8th

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