To many, Adam Sandler is an actor, comedian and producer, but his loyal followers likely know that he’s also a massive basketball fan. He’s also a pretty skilled player who’s hooped it up with some of the NBA’s best and has even played with fans. With this, he’s been channelling that love into some of his projects over the past few years, specifically The Safdie Bros. ‘ Uncut Gems, in which he starred alongside hall of famer Kevin Garnett. Now, Sander is prepping the release of his newest basketball film, the Lebron James-produced Hustle. And based on the first trailer released by Netflix, it’s definitely not a comedy.
The film centers on Adam Sandler’s Stanley Sugerman, a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, who dreams of becoming an NBA head coach. The weary scout spends his days searching for potential talent in different parts of the world. In his travels, he happens upon a young man named Bo Cruz (portrayed by actual NBA professional player NBA player Juancho Hernangómez) in Spain. The troubled young man (who’s a father) shows true potential on the court and Stanley seems set to get him to the states so that he can enter the draft. Check out the trailer below:
But as you’d expect, the road to professional sports glory isn’t going to be easy for the two, as they must both overcome the hurdles that come with making the pros. There’s also the matter of their family obligations. The trailer does a nice job of highlighting the demands of the sports industry. And based on what we see here, Stanley’s relationship with his wife, Teresa (played by Queen Latifah), has suffered in some respects as a result of his work.
There have been plenty of underdog sports movies over the years, but it’s hard to deny just how compelling this film looks. Director Jeremiah Zagar, a Philadelphia native, seems to have taken great care in depicting his hometown and emphasizing the basketball grind, if the trailer is any indication. He also has a talented cast sitting on his bench, as Adam Sandler, Juancho Hernangómez and Queen Latifah are joined by Robert Duvall, Heidi Gardner, Kenny Smith, Anthony Edwards and real-life 76er Tobias Harris. It’s an eclectic mix of characters, but one that I wouldn’t cast doubt upon.
Another aspect of this that I find exciting is the obvious: it marks yet another dramatic role for Adam Sandler. The star has made us laugh plenty of times through iconic comedies like Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy and Billy Madison. However, let’s not forget that he’s also more than held his own in dramas like Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me and Spanglish. It’s always great to see him flex his dramatic acting muscles, and I hope he continues to do it more as time goes on.
Hustle debuts on June 8, so be sure you have a Netflix subscription so that you can check it out.
More to come …