A trailer for the latest Adam Sandler Netflix movie has just dropped, and it looks like we are getting dramatic Sandler this time. Hustle will feature the legendary comedian and Saturday Night Live as a former pro basketball scout looking to revitalize his career after he discovers a promising, undiscovered player internationally, played by real-life NBA player Juancho Hernangómez. This does not appear to be a straightforward remake of the 1994 Kevin Bacon film The Air Up There, but does follow the same basic premise. It is also not Sandler’s first sports movie in either starring or producing capacity. However, it does star Sandler in one of his increasingly frequent high intensity roles, and the teaser is mostly him grilling Hernangómez as to his commitment to basketball. Check the teaser trailer out here:
In the trailer, a heavily bearded Adam Sandler (a beard is traditional cinematic shorthand for someone who is down on their luck) approaches a seated Juancho Hernangómez and demands to know if he truly loves the game of basketball. As he monologues about how any amount of interest or enjoyment of the game is not enough, and that only true, monomaniacal obsession about the sport is worth any engagement in it, the pace builds up to a montage of training, street games, a brief shot of Queen Latifah and a pass through a big rolling CrossFit wheel. It’s very intense.
Adam Sandler has been known as a fanatical basketball fan for decades, and his own pickup game skills went viral when captured on video a few years ago. However, the film is being jointly produced by NBA superstar/Space Jam: A New Legacy co-star LeBron James, who has been increasingly moving into behind the scenes work in Hollywood as of the last several years. This is the first time the two giants of their respective fields have worked together, but as synergy goes, it’s pretty hard to beat. After all, Sandler is surprisingly good at basketball, right? And if you watched the 2015 Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, you would know that LeBron is surprisingly gifted at comedy. So really, this is a perfect marriage between two worlds.
In 2014, the streaming platform Netflix signed a deal with Adam Sandler for four movies. Eight years later, Sandler and Netflix have extended the deal and are expected to be making at least nine movies. Given his 2019 romantic comedy Murder Mystery with Jennifer Anniston was the most watched movie on Netflix for the entire year, this seems like a good deal for the both of them. And while Sandler has never shied away from the goofy comedies that made his career, like The Ridiculous 6 and Hubie Halloween, Netflix has also given him chances to stretch his dramatic muscles with The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). He also received some of the most glowing reviews of his entire career in 2019 with the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems. It remains to be seen whether Sandler’s combined love of basketball and his freedom of dramatic choice on Netflix will achieve that same, but at the very least, check out that beard.