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Hustlers

The story, inspired by true events, concerns Destiny (Constance Wu), a woman who needs money and secures a job dancing in a strip club. There, she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who takes her under her wing and mentors her. They are working in New York City just before the financial markets crashed, when money flowed through Wall Street and into the NYC party scene. After the crash, they parted ways and later reunited, creating a scheme to drug rich men and get them to rack up their credit cards. The premise itself is interesting – it is kind of a modern-day Robin Hood story. The screen is dominated by the women; they are the ones in charge. Jennifer Lopez, who has been getting a lot of well-deserved kudos, does a really good job playing the seasoned mentor who is simultaneously maternal and strictly business. And there were interesting cameos by Cardi B and Lizzo. I didn’t really like this much as a film. I was mostly disinterested in the story during the first 2/3 of the film, and it was only during the last part of the movie that it all started coming together; Lopez and Wu provided some of their best work there, and some of the really funny scenes happened later as well. There is a theme about money and male domination and female power that are just so underexplored; I found myself wishing that they would have spent less time focused on the scenes of the women drugging the men and really digging into these themes. I also found the journalist interviews to be rather distracting. The film gets a thumbs up from me because of the performances and the later part of the film that I enjoyed much more than the earlier parts. (2019; 3 stars).

About Gary Burkholder

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