Sunday, August 25, 2013

Do the Hu$tle

The Monkey Hu$tle (1976) is a cute little blaxploitation comedy set in Chicago. Yaphet Kotto plays small-time hustler Daddy Foxx, who mentors a gang of kids in "gettin' over". They all hang out at Momma's soul food restaurant, worry about the expressway that's going to demolish the neighborhood, make time with girls, etc. There's a crooked cop, a community organizer, an unemployed drummer, and Rudy Ray Moore as Goldie, the big-time hustler.

There isn't much of a plot. There's a lot of  jivey dialog. There's one quick hustle that's pretty cute, but you don't get much idea of how Kotto rakes in the bucks. He's pretty interesting as a hustler - I don't think of Kotto as a light, nimble actor, but he does great here. I thought at first he was doing Rudy Ray Moore, but when Moore shows up, halfway through, the difference is like night and day. Kotto is a hustler, but Moore is The Hustle.

Not a great film, but a fun look at the long ago time when a teenaged boy could wear a crop-top tee-shirt, tight cut-off jeans and red Cons and be considered cool.

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