When the last Global Financial Crisis hit way back in 2008, not only did a lot of people lose money and jobs, people stopped going to the strippers. With more strippers than men with money, the girls had to be clever and thrifty with the way they got men to pay for their questionable services. Hustlers is the story of those women who took matters into their own hands to make a better life for themselves.
Destiny (Constance Wu) is struggling to make ends meet as she cares for her ailing grandmother. On her first night working at a big club in New York, she quickly becomes friends with the hottest and most popular act, Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). Working together the two become not only one sexy double act making a lot of money, but they become the best of friends.
Their lives are spent spending money and enjoying the finer things in life. That is until their worlds come crashing down when the Global Financial Crisis hits, and the gentlemen stop going to the club or spending money.
Taking matters into their own hand’s Destiny and Ramona come up with a plan to drug unsuspecting men and take advantage of their hefty bank accounts. As risky as it was, the two took on a small team to help with the task. Their greed was also their downfall and all it took was a complaint to the police by one man with nothing to lose, the girls had already taken everything.
The most outstanding performance goes to Jennifer Lopez (Second Act, Gigli, Selena) as Ramona. Not only is Lopez in amazing shape for someone in her 50s, she also gives a great performance. Lopes oozed sex appeal as she did her own pole dancing and make it look easy. And when the scene called for it, brought a range of emotions as she took the viewer on a crazy ride.
Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Parallels, The Architect) manages to hold her own as Destiny whilst standing against Lopez. Wu’s character is able to tackle a number of issues death, birth, no money, too much money, lots of friends, no friends. But the great thing Wu is able to maintain is that almost innocent big-hearted little girl inside. Wu makes Destiny a character everyone can associate with somewhere along her journey.
The whole concept for Hustlers is based on a 215 article in New York magazine. The movie uses that interview as the basis for the story. This breaks the film up into the different stages of the storyline into nice and easy to digest packages. It also snaps the viewer out of the little stripper world they get immersed into as it chops and changes. While it helps move the story along it does tend to make the story a little bumpy.
Overall, Hustlers is a fun and sexy look into the world of stripping and how those girls kept making their money once it had dried up. With some great performances from Lopez and Wu the film manages to tell a story about the Global Financial Crisis from a completely different angle. The film does tend to get a bit bumpy and a tad slow through the middle, but what it lacks in those areas it makes it up in some erotic pole dancing skills from Lopez.
Review by Jay Cook