118 minutes, Netflix
The story: Adam Sandler is a tired basketball scout who is betting his future on a street ball talent from Spain. He brings the prodigy back with him to the United States despite the boy’s checkered past and many adversities. Can the underdog pair prove they have what it takes for the pro league?
Three reasons to watch this film:
1. It’s predictable, but…
Hustle has heart. Sandler’s troubled performance with Queen Latifah as the supporting woman and Ben Foster as the mean boss makes for a satisfying, if unsentimental, sports drama about the hard knocks and rewards of a decent family man.
2. The hands of Juancho Hernangomez
They are human paddle boards, ridiculously huge. Hernangomez, a power forward in the United States National Basketball Association (NBA), plays the rookie in a winning acting debut.
3. Everyone is having fun
Julius Erving, Anthony Edwards, Doc Rivers and Kenny Smith are among two dozen other NBA appearances. The movie would be an NBA promo if these stars didn’t bring such spice to the lawsuit. From top to bottom, director Jeremiah Zagar (We The Animals, 2018) captures the hoop action in fluid camera work against hip-hop bangers.
Sandler, an avowed basketball fan, is a producer. There’s a real love of the game here.