Director: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Mette Towley, Wai Ching Ho, Trace Lysette, Keke Palmer, Mercedes Ruehl, Lili Reinhart and Cardi B
Run time: 1h 50min
Inspired by real-life events and a script drafted from a magazine article, Hustlers follows a group of strippers that tire of taking their clothes off for sleazy business men and decide to fleece them for as much money as they can instead.
As carer for her elderly grandmother, rookie Destiny (Wu) dances her way into Moves strip club to make ends meet. Here, she meets the club’s main attraction and mother-figure, Ramona (Lopez,) in one of film’s most spectacular character introductions. As their friendship blossoms, the pair form a double-act to maximise their client’s spending potential.
When the financial crisis of 2008 hits, they fall on hard times and go their separate ways, but come back together again a few years later with a cunning plan. Targeting married men and those unlikely to call the police, they use a combination of Ketamine and MDMA to drug their dates and take advantage of their company credit cards. Sisters are well and truly doing it for themselves as the money comes rolling in. Yes, they used to have a little, now they’ve got a lot.
Justifying what they’re doing by reasoning that the guys were going to spend the money anyway and using the mantra, “Nobody gets hurt”, things start to go wrong as the group expands with greed and over-confidence causing rifts and betrayal.
Writer-director Lorene Scafaria has assembled a superb ensemble cast and penned a sharp and witty script which somehow manages to make you care about these ladies even though what they’re doing is dreadfully wrong. All the men depicted are guilty of is earning lots of cash and being a bit obnoxious which, given the devastating consequences of what happens to some of them, seems incredibly harsh.
Each of the girls have their own quirks whether it be a unique laugh or tendency to vomit when under pressure and all have their moment, but Hustlers very much belongs to Wu and Lopez. J-Lo is a tour de force as her magnetic presence commands every pair of eyes in the room, and of those watching her on the screen, in a career best showing. Wu holds her own in a very different way. Quieter, more thoughtful and registering slightly higher on the moral scale than Ramona.
Hustlers features powerhouse performances, dynamic dialogue and a sexy, clever twist on the Robin Hood legend. You know you shouldn’t be rooting for them, but somehow you do. Well, to an extent!
Hustlers is available to download now and out on disc January 20.