R: pervasive sexual material, drug content, language and nudity | 1h 50min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Synopsis: Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
Review: Seriously, I watched HUSTLERS for the articles. The based on real events story was intriguing and not one I had remembered hearing about. Of course all of us were focused on other issues in 2008 when the stock market crashed. The fact that a few hard working dancers took some Wall Street dudes to the cleaners didn’t make my radar. This film plays out the the article written by Jessica Pressler an inspiring journalist (Julia Stiles) that initially led to end of the ladies financial run.
Destiny (Constance Wu) is a young stripper trying to learn the ropes – and pole – at a high end NY club. When she is taken under the wing of the talented Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) the two become dear friends with Ramona almost becoming the mom Destiny never had. Together they become an unstoppable force at the club and VIP rooms. The clientele of mainly Wall Street brokers are willing to literally throw money at them. Then the crash comes and the money stops flowing like it used to. People have lost their savings and retirement. In order to get back on their feet Destiny and Ramona come up with a not-so-legal scheme that takes them from making ends meet in retail to living in the high rise luxury of NY.
You could make the argument that these women were horrible criminals and the other side would argue that the guys they were fleecing had it coming. Both would sort of be right. Unless you have walked in either shoe it is hard to throw stones. The bottom line is that for a while it worked. I mean, no guy is going to call the cops or tell their wives, “so I was at this strip club and I think these women cheated me out of a lot of money.” So they had silence on their side.
The acting ensemble of Wu, Lopez, Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart are enjoyable to watch. The ladies each bring a different personality and mindset to the roles and the chemistry is there. The sisterhood of working girls is a solid bond and theirs was believable. There is no denying who the leader was both in character and acting. Jennifer Lopez dominates every screen and her sexy swagger has never been more prominent. Her dancing chops come through in fine form but it is also her ability to ground a character with a balance of toughness and tenderness. Ramona is a fighter and knows what she needs and how to get it. Lopez met that challenge head on.
Of course it isn’t a perfect film and some of the moments were a tad over done. The dialogue would go from intriguing to cliche and at times the stripper life seemed a bit manipulative. Lorene Scafaria does a decent job of directing her own screenplay and giving this women an opportunity to move and breathe. Many will have passed on this at the theater but you could do far worse when it hits Blu-ray and Digital. Take note that it is a hard R with both language and content. So go with other adults who aren’t your mother.