By Tom Augustine

Despite being one of the more talented of Hollywood's big-name actresses, Anne Hathaway has struggled to mount a comeback in the wake of her Oscar campaign for her role in Les Miserables in 2012.

However, with the release of (the otherwise deeply middling) Ocean's Eight last year, in which she was an absolute delight, it would appear that the "Hathassance" is in full swing.

Indeed, she is in fine form in The Hustle (director Chris Addison, rated M), an adaptation of 1988 conman classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.


Hathaway stars opposite Rebel Wilson as the smooth and impossibly regal Josephine, a master con artist who is forced to share her idyllic European seaside hunting ground for rich, clueless men with the new girl on the block – Wilson's brash and abrasive Lonnie.

The film is as light and bubbly as a glass of champagne – a fast-moving, easily forgotten crime caper that banks hard on the chemistry of its two leads and hopes you won't go in expecting anything amounting to depth.

Your mileage will vary with The Hustle according to your tolerance for Wilson's schtick, which is excessive to the point of exhaustion – while Wilson is ostensibly in on the joke, the laughs the film invites the audience to share at the expense of her body type are frequently quite gross.

Meanwhile, the film fails to be either especially funny or especially clever – its cons largely uninspired and predictable, much like its humour. Despite a sparkling performance from Hathaway, she is again stranded in a film that fails to rise to her level.

Two Stars.

Longshot, featuring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen.
Longshot, featuring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen.

Also in cinemas is the lovely "what if?" romcom Long Shot (director Jonathan Levine, rated M).

As unlikely romantic pairings go, Seth Rogen's radical, unkempt journalist and Charlize Theron's aspiring presidential candidate are pretty up there, in a comedy that plays to Rogen's strengths as a surprising romantic lead, while uncovering a comedic superstar in the endlessly chameleonic Theron.

The film plays out as elevated wish fulfilment, with an appreciably biting political undercurrent. What is most pleasing about the film is the patience it has for both its leads, allowing us to really understand just how this duo would come together and find comfort and love with each other.

Warm, endlessly charming and often very, very funny, Long Shot is undoubtedly the year's best romantic comedy so far.

Four Stars.

Lastly, if you're looking to experience some truly classic films on the big screen, don't miss out on the exquisite programming of Academy Cinemas' Persona Non Grata Festival.

As programmed by new manager Gorjan Markovski, the series is exploring some of the finest psychological thrillers in cinema history, including bona fide masterpieces like the terrifyingly resonant Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Robert Altman's elusive classic 3 Women.

The jewel in the crown is a screening of Ingmar Bergman's Persona, one of the most significant and form-pushing pieces of cinema ever made, and not to be missed.