Directed by Loraine Scafaria
Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, and Julia Stiles
Synopsis: After the stock market crash of 2008 hinders their business, a group of exotic dancers has to alter their game in order to be financially successful.
Review: Hustlers is alternate universe Wall Street, but instead of the people getting fleeced by the underhanded people on the New York Stock Exchange it’s the people taking the pants (literally and figuratively) off the stockbrokers and big bankers. In the Charlie Sheen role, you have Constance Wu giving another stellar performance as Destiny, the newbie at an exotic dance club who is taken under the wing of big fish Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). Ramona shows Destiny the ropes on how to make real money, but once the recession hits and the well runs dry, they have to evolve with the times and come up with new strategies in order to keep the cash rolling in. Their methods become more nefarious, which come with bigger risks.
Director Lorene Scafaria (who also wrote the film) created a universe where you wanted to cheer for the girls for what they were doing even though their tactics weren’t always up to par. Jennifer Lopez is garnering much of the attention in her performance post-TIFF, even heralding this award nomination worthy. She is really good, but Constance Wu is the performance that should be garnering the most attention, even though her character could have been better developed. There is a lot of backstory of Destiny’s upbringing that felt shoehorned into the third act that had this information been better integrated into the overall story she would have been a more fleshed-out character. The supporting cast all play their parts really well, with standouts being Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart as the other members of Ramona’s crew.
The Verdict: Get a big group together and enjoy the party. My grade for Hustlers is an A-.