I’m going to be honest here. My main reason for being interested in seeing this movie was the fact that I would see Jennifer Lopez be a stripper where she would be wearing revealing clothing and dancing erotically. Just have to admit that right off the bat. Lopez is in her 50's and still, very much, has it. With that said, I ended up walking away from this pleasantly surprised. Yes, I got exactly what I wanted. But, I also got a movie with an engaging story and outstanding performances. It felt almost like a mixture of Magic Mike and The Wolf of Wall Street. I know that may sound crazy, but I’ll explain. But, this does bring up a question. Would a potential sequel be called Hustlers XXL? Or is that too much? There might be some implications with that title best left alone.
Hustlers tells the story of some strippers facing some hard times. They decide to make some more money by drugging rich guys, taking them to the club, and proceeding to max out their credit cards. See where my latter comparison comes into play? This is very much a film about the American Dream while also being based on a true story. And, it mostly does it well. Obviously, it’s not the most original idea for a film, but the filmmakers do a good job here. A huge chunk of the reason this works so well for them is the cast. Everyone does a great job here. Lopez, in particular, is a standout. Considering I’ve never thought she was exactly a great actor; she gives her best work here. This is the first time I truly believed in her performance. As for my former comparison, this is definitely made with some stuff for the guys to enjoy. And, yes, I’m talking about the stripping. To its credit, Hustlers does a tremendous job of showing these beautiful women do their thing while never coming off as exploitative.
So, while I went with very basic male desires, I came out pretty impressed. Unfortunately, this isn’t the most original idea. But, the film backs it up with great performances which makes it engaging to watch. The stripping helps out a lot too. Basically, if you’re looking for a well-made, and acted, movie, with Lopez spending most of it half-naked and just being sexy, you can’t go wrong with Hustlers.
I have to start by saying that the cast in this film is absolutely extraordinary. Constance Wu and J-Lo dominate the screen, but every single side character that pops up is entertaining as can be. Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Dov Davidoff, Trace Lysette, Mette Towley, Mercedes Ruehl, G-Eazy, Cardi B, Lizzo, and fucking Usher! This film is packed with tough decision making while showcasing a tremendous amount of style. Scafaria really has an eye for what’s aesthetically pleasing.
Hustlers is based on an article from 2015 that chronicles some high dollar transactions made at some strip clubs in 2013. It truly is a great article and you can easily find it on the internet. My main problem and really my only problem with the film is the pacing. When you are jumping from year to year, transitioning is important and whoever took part in constructing that part of the film clearly didn’t care too much.
Some of the real women that Hustlers is based on have come out and said the movie is bullshit, which of course happens all the damn time when the characters don’t make you look too good. These characters are portrayed as strippers who decided to take matters into their own hands. I think they are badass because they are completely rebellious against rich Wall Street dudes. Someone has to steal from them right? Hustlers certainly isn’t for everyone, but like I said, it’s filled with wonderful performances and style. Scafaria hasn’t ever been this in your face, and I’m personally excited to see what other forgotten stories she decides to tell us.