Adam Sandler has always had a tricky relationship with critics, for example, his 2015 comedy western The Ridiculous 6 received a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. While his other films like Uncut Gems and The Meyerowitz Stories have received extremely high ratings from critics, their fan scores were not as high. However, his newest film, Hustle, has achieved his highest rating among fans and critics so far.
Hustle has a 92% rating on the Tomatometer, which measures critics’ reviews of the movie. It is just one percent off of his all-time highest among critics, The Meyerowitz Stories, and tied with uncut gems. Unlike Hustle, both of these films received lower fan scores at 72% and 52% respectively.
The audience rating for Hustle is tied with its critic rating at 92%, the highest Sandler has ever received for any of his films. Even some of his most popular films like Happy Gilmore and Grandma’s Boy received lower audience scores at just 85% for both.
Hustle tells the story of a basketball scout for the Philadelphia 76ers who has recently experienced bad luck in his career. On a trip to Spain, he discovers what he believes to be a prodigy playing street ball. He brings the young man, played by NBA star Juancho Hernangomez back to the United States in hopes of getting him to the NBA.
Critic for Newsday, Robert Levin, rated the movie a 3.5 out of 4 saying “Hustle is worth seeing even if you don’t like basketball. That says it all”. Many critics and audience members alike appreciate the film for the same qualities Sandler brought to Uncut Gems, a level of serious acting that comes as a surprise to anyone who only know him for his “sillier” roles.
Sandler told EW in May that this movie had a different feel for him, “it’s kind of a combination of stuff I’ve done in the past and a newer version of who I am”. It appears that Sandler is perhaps shifting away from his well-known Billy Madison act into more complex stories and acting.