‘Pain Hustlers’ Review – An Opioid Takedown That Never Excels Past Generic

Pain Hustlers - (L to R) Chris Evans as Brenner and Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

It’s weird to watch a film in the post-COVID era that has the audacity to make Big Pharma the film’s antagonist.

Emily Blunt as Liz in Pain Hustlers on Netlfix
Pain Hustlers – Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

After three years of being told that Pfizer is the most trusted pharmaceutical company in the world and that anyone who dares to challenge that fact is a threat to National Security, a film that looks at the dirty world of pharmaceutical companies is quite the refresher.

However, this is a Netflix film so don’t get too excited.

The story of Pain Hustlers is one that many people have heard time and time again, a brand-new pharmaceutical company wants to make a name for themselves and the only way to do so is by pushing their drugs onto as many patients and doctors as possible.

Pain Hustlers - (L to R) Jay Duplass as Larkin, Chris Evans as Brenner and Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – (L to R) Jay Duplass as Larkin, Chris Evans as Brenner and Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

RELATED: Emily Blunt Announces She’s Taking A Break From Hollywood To Raise Her Children, But Is Not Quitting Permanently

Sounds great when the money is piling in but, after a few years, the long-term effects of the said drug are realized, leading to lawsuits and 10:00 a.m. commercials asking if you’ve ever taken something that you had already been taking for years.

The post-Marvel era has not been well for Captain America actor Chris Evans, who has starred in a number of projects over that have not managed to pan out.

Pain Hustlers - (L to R) Chris Evans as Brenner and Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – (L to R) Chris Evans as Brenner and Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

Conversely, Emily Blunt has had a great run and has proven to be one of the strongest, most reliable actresses in Hollywood today, so pairing her with the former Marvel star sounds like a good idea if handled properly.

As I mentioned earlier, however, this is a Netflix movie.

Pain Hustlers - (L to R) Emily Blunt as Liza and Catherine O'Hara as Jackie in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – (L to R) Emily Blunt as Liza and Catherine O’Hara as Jackie in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

RELATED: Emily Blunt Gives An Update On ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ Sequel: “We Have To Create Something As Ambitious As The First One”

Pain Hustlers introduces us to Liza Drake ( Blunt) — a woman who looks far too old to be stripping her way through college yet is anyway — who is a single mother of an ill teenage daughter whose life takes a turn for the better after meeting a shady Pharmaceutical Hustler named Pete Brenner (Evans).

Pete believes in the philosophy of ‘PhD’, which is finding people who are poor, hungry, and desperate to hook them for a sales job in hopes that they can produce future contracts. Their business model? Bribe doctors into prescribing their drug and get a kickback of $50,000 per subscription.

While Liza isn’t the smartest person in the world, she knows how to work her way around sales. She creates a business model that makes them millions of dollars — to the point where they become a publicly traded company.

Pain Hustlers - Andy Garcia as Neel in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – Andy Garcia as Neel in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

The problem arises when the people on top start to get greedy, realizing that in order to boost sales they have to keep increasing the amount of prescriptions. This means they have to bribe doctors to prescribe even more subscriptions to keep their business model afloat; as a result, people start dying due to an over-prescription of opiates.

Everyone wants to live a high life until the consequences of their actions come knocking out their door, and Pain Hustlers is another example of riding the wave to the top until it comes crashing down.

Pain Hustlers - (L to R) Emily Blunt as Liza and Chris Evans as Brenner in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – (L to R) Emily Blunt as Liza and Chris Evans as Brenner in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

RELATED: ‘Jungle Cruise’ Star Emily Blunt Slams Hollywood’s Idea Of A Strong Female Lead: “It’s The Worst Thing Ever When You Open A Script And Read Those Words”

Emily Blunt is known for taking dynamic roles to diversify her portfolio as an actress. On a surface level, this is an interesting role for her; a stripper turned sales genius does sound like an exciting premise.

When his mouth isn’t making political statements — thus turning audiences off to his potential projects — you almost forget that Chris Evans is a solid actor in his own right, but his roles aren’t very memorable. That puts him in the position of being the guy who stars in a bunch of movies but doesn’t make a lasting impression.

Pain Hustlers – Andy Garcia as Neel in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

This film is no different.

The reason why Pain Hustlers fails to stand out is the fact that, outside of the opening act, this film is something you have seen a thousand times — to the point where you can call the rise and fall of the characters before it even happens.

The story has been done better in other movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short.

Pain Hustlers - Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – Emily Blunt as Liza in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

While Blunt is a capable actress, Pain Hustlers scribes Wells Tower and Evan Hughes lack writing experience; a common flaw found in the majority of films produced by Netflix. The streaming giant is notorious for forgiving novice writers and directors of their own projects and expecting big-name actors to draw enough audience to get a view of the streaming service.

Pain Hustlers is a content movie that has enough shine to make you wish that it was handled by better filmmakers. Instead, this movie only manages to give audiences a one-and-done viewing experience.

Pain Hustlers - (L to R) Emily Blunt as Liza and Chris Evans as Brenner in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.
Pain Hustlers – (L to R) Emily Blunt as Liza and Chris Evans as Brenner in Pain Hustlers. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2023.

Pain Hustlers has the ambition of being a cinematic takedown of the opioid epidemic that ultimately lacks the ability to stay in the fight longer than a few rounds.

Don’t forget to subscribe for updates. Also, follow us at Society-ReviewsYouTube,  TwitterOdyseeRumble, and Twitch.

NEXT: ‘The Marvels’ Review – The Worst Written MCU Film Of All Time

Share: