The NBA Finals are in full swing and much to the writer of this article’s delight, the Boston Celtics are one-nil up in the series against multiple NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. It is more than likely that another happy basketball fan right now is Adam Sandler. A regular on-court threat at LA Fitness pick-up basketball games, Sandler’s new Netflix movie about all things hoops, Hustle, has got off to a shockingly one-sided start with Rotten Tomatoes, with the site showing the film has a 100% approval record with critics.
Hustle stars Adam Sandler as a Philadelphia 76ers scout on a mission to find the next big NBA star. Sandler’s character Stanley stumbles across a Spanish streetball player (played by actual NBA star Juancho Hernangómez) with a troubled past and together Stanley and his new protege connect on and off the court to help pursue their dreams. Joining Sandler and Hernangómez in the movie is a whole host of other basketball favorites. Sandler co-produced the film alongside one of the biggest NBA stars there is, LeBron James, and the cast is filled out with other pros as well.
ScreenRant reports that former number one NBA Draft pick Anthony Edwards features in the film, alongside Trae Young, Kyle Lowry, Jordan Clarkson, Khris Middleton, Aaron Gordon, Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and John Wick 3 veteran Boban Marjanović. Not only that but there are some former players turned coaches/pundits posing for the Hustle film cameras as well, namely, Doc Rivers, Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, and Mark Jackson. If this cast of NBA players wasn’t enough to draw viewers in, Queen Latifah is cast as Sandler’s on-screen wife to round out a supersonic cast.
Not only does Hustle offer NBA fans a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a collective of pro-ballers linking up on screen outside of a Looney Tunes film, the movie’s critical response thus far shows that the cast is a winning roster. Comic Book reported in their review that: “Hustle isn’t something that hasn’t been seen or done before, it’s just a much better version of those things than we’ve seen in a very, very long time. This kind of mid-budget adult sports drama has been sorely missed.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Adam Sandler has an illustrious history of churning out sports-based films such as Happy Gilmore, Waterboy and The Longest Yard. As well as this, Adam Sandler has a history of sharing the screen with NBA stars, in the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems, Sandler shares the screen with former NBA player and champion, Kevin Garnett.
As it stands, Hustle has earned its 100% Rotten Tomatoes score off the back of 18 critics’ reviews. As more reviews pour in it will become clearer if Adam Sandler and LeBron James have truly produced a winning formula. Audiences will also be able to give their verdict by watching the film in select theatres as of today (June 3rd). For those wanting to watch Hustle in the comfort of their own home, the basketball drama will be available on Netflix from June 8 onwards. From that June 8 Netflix premiere, it will be possible to gauge if audiences and critics align on whether Hustle is indeed a slam dunk of a sports drama.