HUSTLERS (2019)

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Written & Directed By: Lorene Scafaria
Based On an Article By: Jessica Pressler
Cinematography: Todd Banhazi
Editor: Kayla Etmer 

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Julia Stiles, Mercedes Rehul, Dov Davidoff, Trace Lysette, Frank Whaley, Lizzo, Cardi B, Big Jay Oakerson, Devin Ratary, Jon Glaser, Rhys Coiro, Madeline Brewer, Stormi Maya 


Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

The film is dramatic and comedic as you laugh but feel the drama and stakes it presents, will admit the film is much better then one would think.

It’s easy to see this as a female empowerment movie. As these women are pulling themselves up from their bootstraps to do for themselves with what they have and learning from their customers and how badly they treat them to have the same type of behavior when it comes to pulling scams and making money. Where it doesn’t seem to hurt anyone until we and they are actually Presented with someone they are. It seems at first a survivors instinct then a learned amoral behavior.

Jennifer Lopez makes a full comeback though they don’ t give her as much of a back story and her decisions in the third act are somewhat questionable we believe it is more about power going to her head and the thirst for more money. As she remembers the past and doesn’t want to go back. She gives what is commonly known as a star making performance. Only she is already a star. So more or less this is a performance that brings out the best in her and reminds the audience why we love her and stay her fans. As it gives her a performance where we are reminded why we keep watching her and why we always give her a chance.

She is the alpha a leader and as soon as she comes into the film with a powerful introduction like the lead character she has us in the palm of her hands. She is charismatic has swagger and is just gorgeous and cool. Looks beautiful and near perfect In Every shot. You never want her to leave even in sections when she is not there the film feels her presence missing. So he basically makes you realize this is her movie. Looking movie star beautiful and great always in her scenes.

As she makes more money she seems to be possessed by always making more, There is no goal number in sight. Just having it and we see her more predatory behavior take over. Though she maintains a mothering attitude throughout when it comes to her crew. She just has a bond with Wu’s character. That when she leaves earlier to start s family she feels betrayed and later in the film when they start to have problems that might be why she gets a little angry and powerful over her and why she Spoils stray members of the crew who don’t deserve it as a mother she might see potential or a need for these members or like a pimp see’s them more as pure money. Plus wants to stack the deck if other leave.

As soon as he comes on screen you know this movie will be about her. She comes out and shows why she is a movie star. All glamour glitz and commanding the screen. She delivers in the promise that we expect and surpasses it

Though Jennifer Lopez steals the show the whole cast is good. Though Keke Palmer is a particular stand out and glad to see her finally get a good role in a good film. As I have been watching and rooting for her since AKKELAH AND THE BEE also Lili Reinhardt as they both make good more comedic fouls in the film.

Constance Wu is one of the leads and holds her own considering most of her scenes involve going toe to toe with Jennifer Lopez. Unfortunately Lopez is just so all consuming she takes over their scenes and stays the more memorable.

For those seeking sex and nudity you will be disappointed as you will feel the film pulled a hustle on you. As for s film about strippers sex and nudity is discussed more then shown. Also some other notable names in the cast are in the film in smaller roles then the advertising would have you believe in.

Ironically Rapper Cardi B who has a small role in the film is a former stripper who has admitted to robbing and drugging men when she was a stripper. Which is party what this film is about. In fact one of the most highlighted scenes of the film involves a surprise cameo. There is a scene later in the film where one character kind of seems to realize there is something strange and might be a set-up of some sort yet the more street smart one seems to be oblivious. Maybe as she trusts all in her brood unflinchingly.

The film time to time surprises you with an artistic direction you might not expect that feels inspired.

This is definitely a New York type of film of rags and riches. That while it could happen anywhere else. Feels special in it’s Location, characters and attitude. Based of course on a true story (As if it wasn’t you would barely believe it)

Though downbeat a bit. It is a crowd pleaser. As when it seeks to show the joy that we share in the scamming the film also puts a face to a victim that affects us. As he is the only one who seems to not deserve it. As we see his problems and hardships and the glee the gang takes in taking him.

In the end the film feels a bit long, but it feels like each scene is needed to completely tell the story and fill out the film emotionally.

Grade: B

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