Title – Hustlers (2019)
Director – Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler)
Cast – Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B
Plot – The true story of a group of New York City strip club workers led by Destiny (Wu) and Ramona (Lopez) who in the face of the late 2000’s financial crisis take matters into their own hands to make a living off their wealthy acquaintances.
“We’re a family now. A family with money!”
Review by Eddie on 18/10/2019
If I’m being honest, I feel as though the fact Hustlers has been released and is not being talked about as a candidate for one of the years worst films is some form of cinematic miracle.
In what appeared to be film that could’ve easily have been the modern day Showgirls, group of working class strippers band together to rip off sleazy Wall Street and high rolling clients, Hustler’s ability to overcome its seemingly doomed based on a true story premise is something that’s worth noting and due largely to the fact Crazy Rich Asians breakout star Constance Wu and the sure to be awards nominated co-star Jennifer Lopez bring their A-games to Lorene Scafaria’s feature.
Now that we’ve celebrated the fact Hustlers has become a film with a rating in the high 80’s on Rotten Tomatoes and high 70’s on Metacritic, against the odds it now feels as though Hustlers has become one of the year’s most unworthily praised films, in what’s a sleazy and unlikable experience in the underbelly of New York City as a group of hard luck woman combine forces to manipulate and criminally drug supposed bad guys to gain a leg up in life.
It’s in this core concept in which Hustlers becomes an unlikable event, we’re told and made to feel as though everyone Wu’s Destiny and Lopez’s Romona targets in their scheme, that sees them drugging their way around New York’s high end players, are bad people, but it’s hard to believe just because somebody is rich, automatically makes them someone it’s OK to illegally drug, steal and gain from.
There’s very little enjoyment to be found from watching this rag-tag group of strippers enact their masterplan’s on a collection of victims and while Hustlers starts out strong with Wu at first a likable enough central figure and Lopez as good as she’s ever been as the street smart Romona, once Scafaria gets into the groove of the central plot-line that formed the basis of the news article in which Hustler’s has been derived from, this film loses any of the entertainment value it could’ve potentially had.
As the film wears one we become increasingly aware that there is no one here we can really root for, most of these characters have made their own bed and reap what they sow, there’s nothing overtly placed in front of us that can make us shy away from the fact that these woman are just after a quick buck, in the some of the most depraved and dishonest means possible.
When we set out to watch a gangster film we are not asked to enjoy the way they kill, rob and plunder their way to financial success but Hustler’s problem is it feels as though its setting up its main group as some type of Robin Hood like woman, sticking it to the man and getting a slice of the pie they feel entitled to but there’s no real reason why we want to see them achieve their goals at the detriment of everyone else around them, most of us end up being working class citizens, most of us live through hard times and most of us don’t feel the need to drug and manipulate others to achieve financial gains.
Final Say –
A well shot film that’s well acted by its main cast, Hustler’s is supposed to feel grimy and dirty but it forgot to offer any real enjoyment for its viewers to take from a film that quite simply follows a collection everyday woman who decided their best bet at a good life was becoming monsters bigger than the supposed ones they were targeting for their personal means.
2 Usher visits out of 5