Hustle Review: The Con Is Back On
HUSTLE: Monday 18th January, BBC1, 9pm ALERT ME
You can never be too suspicious of con artists. More specifically, the creators of UK shows about con artists.
The removal of slick dialogue, (“I hope you brought the sandwiches”), dodgy zoom-ins and music akin to the amazon version of The Sims soundtrack makes for a ‘Lakeside 5’ as opposed to ‘Ocean’s 11’.
In other words, a con show that’s heavily watered down.
Saying that, if only I had a crack team of wingmen to help me out of a £500,000 pay off to a man complete with bald head, shades and a dodgy goatee.
Arthur aka “Jerry Millbank” sets the scene in a Chinese restaurant with a smattering of ‘investment talk’. But before his companion can say, “Here’s to the beachfront villa in the Carribean,” in comes the bad guy (although no-one is this is really ‘bad’; at a stretch they might carry a plastic sword) with a silver briefcase asking for dough.
After the trademark sporadic poker game (a lot goes down in Chinese restaurants these days), Arthur arrives at his local bar and orders the obligatory “vodka on the rocks.” He just about gets away with this (accent rather than age-wise; his veneers do little to disguise the grey) and proceeds to tell his friends he needs to come up with the money or he’s a gonner.
“Charles’s trademark is chopping off bits of anyone who crosses him,” someone delivers to a collection of experts (including Matt Di Angelo, who knew). Having only a week, the team better act fast. A lot of screen time sees them shoot one liners to each other across a room complete with large table and fish tank until, that is, Matt aka Sean suggests nicking an art dealer’s gold jewel-encrusted tiger worth a cool ten mil. When temptress Emma is sent to butter him up, things look promising.
After a party (arranged by a street performer), some Googling and meetings held in a church, they eventually get hold of Tigger, much to art dealer Baincroft’s downfall.
As the ending sees the cast talking to a stuffed toy bought from Hamley’s, this Tiger tale is altogether tame. Something in me wondered if someone’s bits actually were chopped off, it would leave Hustle with a bit more bite.