Hustle is Adam Sandler’s newest project in Happy Madison’s longstanding partnership with Netflix. But don’t expect this movie to be another one in Sandler’s well-known comedic archives. Like Uncut Gems, Hustle promises to err on the more dramatic side of Sandler’s (finally) maturing selection of characters. Apparently, the screenplay truly inspired Sandler. The star said he could relate a lot to the themes of “working hard his whole life and not getting exactly what [the character’s] goal was” and subjects of struggling to achieve a particular goal. Hustle is notably the first time Adam Sandler has played the role of a mentor on set as well, which is a new take for the actor.

The movie about a struggling basketball star was a strange marriage of moviemakers, video game producers, and actual basketball stars. The film is co-written by Will Fetters and Taylor Materne. Fetters is an Oscar-nominated writer who begate films like Remember Me and A Star is Born, and Materne wrote the NBA 2k19 and 2k20 games. This might seem like an odd combination due to the fact this isn’t an adaptation of a video game, but adding Materne to the crew is an excellent choice on which to inform dialogue for a basketball movie. LeBron James has also been brought on as a producer.

Hustle: The Plot

The story revolves around the relationship between two down-on-their-luck characters, Bo Cruz and Stanley Sugerman. Bo Cruz is a poor Spanish streetball player who lives in squalor with his wife and child. Cruz has incredible talent but remains trapped by being impoverished. Sugerman is also struggling but in a different way. He is a talent scout for the 76ers basketball team, continually giving his life to his career, waiting for a big break. He journeys all over the world looking for talented players to bring home with him to Philadelphia. We get the impression from the trailer that he is chasing his dream, and despite his long history of failures, he continues to try.

One day, Sugerman arrives in Spain, seeking talent for his home team. He meets Bo Cruz after he sees him perform on what looks like a court surrounded by a chain-link fence in the rough part of a city. Sugerman follows Cruz home to present his offer of fame and fortune. When Cruz accepts, their problems compound as the instant change in both their lives asks for a greater commitment than either of them expected.

 

In spite of his natural talent, Cruz is forced to push his body farther than it’s been before and learn to play in a more nuanced way. Sugerman comes to realize that even greater ambition requires even greater sacrifice. The two are caught up in a whirlwind of competition and career that puts stress on their family lives and creates difficult situations for them. Sugerman seems to take up an inspiring role in Cruz’s life, encouraging him and providing a role model that can give Cruz the occasional reality check he needs.

Hustle: The Cast

Though Adam Sandler stars in the films leading role, he plays opposite an actual Spanish NBA player, Juancho Hernangómez. Hernangómez plays the hero and focus of the story, talented basketball player Bo Cruz. Though he used to play for the Spanish National team, he currently plays for the Utah Jazz and will undoubtedly bring his skill and experience to the movie. Sandler plays Bo’s mentor and talent scout for the 76ers, Stanley Sugerman. The role of Sugerman’s wife will be played by Queen Latifah, an actor who brings us great joy in returning to the spotlight in a big film. Queen Latifah is known for numerous movies and TV shows and her work in Hairspray and the 2002 production of Chicago.

Aside from the central triad of players, the film has a star-studded cast, most of whose roles haven’t been announced yet. Ben Foster is involved in some capacity. Foster is known for 3:10 to Yuma and Hell or High Water. Robert Duvall (The GodfatherApocalypse Now) is also mentioned in the cast, as is Jaleel White from Family Matters. Current NBA sportscaster and former player Kenny Smith joins the cast to add even more basketball authenticity.

 

Hustle: Release Date

The film is an exciting and powerful story that centers on that all too recognizable conflict of career vs. family. But the tale told is nuanced by showing two different versions of that struggle mirroring each other between the younger Cruz and the older Sugerman. The narrative is ignited by the firm resolve both of these characters have to achieve what is their life’s dream. Hustle plans to leave it all on the court when released on June 8, 2022.