Pain Hustlers Movie Review : While Emily Blunt delivers an outstanding performance, the film falls short of expectations

Pain Hustlers Movie Review

Pain Hustlers Movie Review : Story: When Liza, a single mother who works as a dancer in a strip club, crosses paths with Pete, a pharmaceutical drug representative, her life takes an unexpected turn. Together, their pursuit of easy money inadvertently sets off the opioid epidemic.

Pain Hustlers Movie Review : Hollywood’s current trend seems to revolve around exposing the unethical practices of pharmaceutical companies. After taking on Purdue Pharma in the critically acclaimed series ‘Dopesick’ and later ‘Painkiller,’ “Pain Hustlers” now sheds light on the dark deeds of another pharmaceutical giant, resulting in tragic loss of lives. Based on a New York Times article by Evan Hughes, which later became a book, the film chronicles the misconduct of Insys.

Their product, Subsys, gained notoriety through its ‘speaker program,’ where doctors themselves became sales reps for the medication. While ‘Pain Hustlers’ attempts to outshine other films in this space, it falls short of expectations. The film takes a cautious route, never fully immersing itself in the subject matter, limiting the overall viewing experience.

Pain Hustlers Movie Review

‘Pain Hustlers’ commits the cardinal sin of not naming the company upon which the story is based. A departure from ‘Dopesick’ and ‘Painkiller,’ which openly criticized Purdue Pharma, ‘Pain Hustlers’ opts for a fictitious corrupt company and characters. This choice fails to resonate with the audience, leaving you wishing for more depth and authenticity in the storyline.


The film’s narrative revolves around Liza Drake (portrayed by Emily Blunt), who lives in her sister’s basement with her daughter Phoebe (Chloe Coleman) and her mother, Jackie (Catherine O’Hara). To make ends meet, she works at a local strip club but aspires to improve her financial situation. When she receives an offer to become a sales representative from Pete Brenner (played by Chris Evans), a slick executive at a pharmaceutical company on the brink of bankruptcy, she sees it as a fast-track to wealth.

Her unconventional marketing tactics eventually yield substantial profits in a short time, thanks to the ‘speaker program’ and incentives for doctors. However, when it’s revealed that the pharmaceutical drug she’s promoting contains fentanyl, the situation takes a dramatic turn.

Pain Hustlers Movie Plot

The film’s primary draw is Emily Blunt’s exceptional performance as Liza. She convincingly portrays a determined mother ready to go to great lengths to provide stability and a quality education for her daughter. The film effectively captures the transformation in her character, from struggling to make ends meet to living in luxury. Blunt’s presence elevates this otherwise average film.

Chris Evans, however, appears underutilized in a character that lacks depth. The screenplay primarily focuses on Evan’s character when he’s with Liza and offers limited insight into his personal background. Andy Garcia’s sporadic appearances in the film result in a forgettable performance at best.

Director David Yates delivers a few memorable scenes, such as Pete fabricating Liza’s resume or Liza organizing the ‘speaker program’ for Dr. Lydell. However, such moments are few and far between. The film’s major shortcoming is its reluctance to venture beyond its comfort zone, leaving the audience questioning the film’s intended message.

Pain Hustlers Movie Cast And Budget

Emily Blunt as Liza Drake, Chris Evans as Pete Brenner, Catherine O’Hara as Jackie, Liza’s mother, Andy García as Dr. Neel, Jay Duplass as Larkin, Brian d’Arcy James as Dr. Lydell, Amit Shah as Eric Paley, Chloe Coleman as Phoebe, Liza’s daughter, Aubrey Dollar as Andy, Michael Kosta as Guy Schatz, Nick McNeil as Randy

Budget- $10 million

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