Adam Sandler is known as one of Hollywood’s biggest basketball fans, often mining the sport for stand-up comedy material. But it wasn’t until his role in the 2019 Safdie brothers’ film “Uncut Gems,” acting alongside Kevin Garnet, that his passion peaked the nation’s attention.
Now he’s back, starring in “Hustle” as Stanley Sugarman, a 76ers international talent scout who takes it upon himself to train Bo Cruz (Utah Jazz player Juancho Hernangómez) for the draft. While this movie is not based on a true story, the portrayal of international NBA politics is made real through a cast of NBA icons.
The movie rocketed ahead of any other Sandler flick on the review website Rotten Tomatoes this week, beating out “Happy Gilmore” and “Reign Over Me,” with an audience score of 91%. The critics have also given it 91%, placing the movie third behind “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” and “Uncut Gems.”
As more see the movie and review, we are likely to see these ratings change.
NBA star power
LeBron James picks up a producer’s credit on this film, likely a big reason 25 other NBA players show up.
Hernangómez, a principal character, played in a professional league in Spain before entering the NBA in 2016. He now plays for the Jazz. Another notable Jazz player Jordan Clarkson makes an appearance.
Anthony Edwards, a rising star on the Minnesota Timberwolves, plays a trash-talking top draft prospect.
Julius “Dr. J” Erving, one of the greatest players of all time, shows up at Harlem’s Rucker Park, where his legend was born. Kenny Smith, Kyle Lowry, Mark Jackson and a slew of other players, coaches and NBA affiliates make appearances as well.
Where to watch
“Hustle” is in theaters now and streaming on Netflix.
Hustle is a top tier feel great underdog sports movie. Adam Sandler is perfection in this because the film plays to his strengths as both a comedic and a dramatic actor. Juancho Hernangomez delivers a surprisingly heartfelt and emotional performance. Loved it. #HustleNetflix pic.twitter.com/C2sSO3cUpP— Scott Menzel (@ScottDMenzel) June 2, 2022
And who knew that Adam Sandler and Queen Latifah would make one of the best on-screen married couples I have seen in a very long time? Loved them together! #Hustle #Netflix #HustleNetflix— Cedric 😎 (@Cedric324) June 10, 2022
Not only is this movie filmed in Philly but it’s actually pretty good! #HustleNetflix— Ⓜ️ike (@PhillyKid_42) June 9, 2022