Hustlers is a 2019 crime thriller film, about a group of strippers that after the 2008 financial crisis decide to start drugging and robbing their clients to make some extra cash; apparently based on real events.
First things first, the film is handled tastefully, others who have reviewed it says it shows life as a stripper accurately, rather than overly glamorising it; which some movies do. At no point did the film become vulgar, or pervy; which is something that this film if done differently, could have been in danger of.
The main plot of the film revolves around Destiny, (Constance Wu), as a new girl in this particular strip club, who needs to make some money to pay for her grandmother’s debts. Enter Ramona, (Jennifer Lopez), a seasoned pro who knows how to make money and get what she wants. What then follows is a dive into the extreme as the girl’s actions become more and more sinister, and Ramona and Destiny become more and more at odds. On the whole, the film’s plot is quite novel as there haven’t been many crime films from the woman’s point of view.
Hustlers is Jennifer Lopez’s movie, as though she isn’t the main character, she is the most interesting and compelling. Lopez gives a hell of a performance and can switch between a caring mother and friend, to someone who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. There has been talk comparing Lopez’s role in this to Matthew McConaughey’s character in Magic Mike, and if this is true than Hustlers might mark the beginning of a renaissance in Lopez’s acting career; she might even win an Oscar.
That is all the positives I can say about the film.
Other than Lopez there are a large amount of other supporting characters, such as Annabelle, (Lili Reinhart of Riverdale fame), all of these characters aren’t fleshed out or, developed beyond one or two memorable traits. In the case of Reinhart her gimmick, and that truly is an apt choice of word, is that she is sick whenever she is stressed and that she has a bad home life, those are the only two things you know about her character; so a developed supporting cast is something you can’t find here.
In my opinion, the main issue with Hustlers is Constance Wu; she is incredibly unlikable and doesn’t work as the main character we are supposed to root for. She is given various traits to make her more sympathetic, but all they seem to do is reinforce just how unlikable she is. I don’t know if she is just upstaged by Jennifer Lopez’s electrifying performance, but to me, Wu was incredibly miscast.
What’s more and it needs to be said, the film doesn’t view men in a good light at all, even one in the third act who is supposed to be sympathetic he is still treated with contempt; that said, though in the context of the film it makes sense why they have this view. At no point does it feel forced in, it makes sense from the character motivations; it just something that needs to be talked about in regards to this film.
Overall the film is worth seeing for Jennifer Lopez’s fantastic performance alone; it is just a shame the rest of the cast can’t live up to her. An average to good crime film.
Reviewed by Luke