"Hustlers" full of flash, but not enough to take down "It"

Brenda Watkins
September 19, 2019

J.Lo's entrance in the highly anticipated Hustlers starts off with a bang and her fiery presence holds up for the entirety of the film - until the last moment with her middle fingers up in defiance of the system. The concept of control, and the mystery of who's controlling whom, vibrates on the screen in practically every scene.

That means you can stream it on Amazon Prime, but you'll need to subscribe to the Showtime Channel to watch it. The original, the biggest September release ever, had earned more than $200 million at the same point two years ago.

Fresh off her starmaking performance in "Crazy Rich Asians", Wu serves as the film's emotional core as Dorothy, who serves as the film's narrator as she recounts the epic antics to the New York Magazine reporter (Julia Stiles). She exudes a classical movie star energy while tapping into a naturalism rarely seen in her work. She was the best dancer, the one who knew how to tease in just the right way to get what she wanted without surrendering to the whims of clients.

"He's just telling stuff", she said. She eventually comes across Ramona again where they blame the recession on the same Wall Street guys. Whether it's the iconic Juicy velour tracksuit or Destiny's bedazzled choker that reads "SEXY", it'll take you back to some great (and not-so-great) 2000s trends.

STX's Hustlers, the acclaimed Lorene Scafaria drama starring Jennifer Lopez, opened to numbers that far exceeded what had been forecast in the days leading up to its debut. In it, Brad Pitt's character remarks that America's a business, and you're on your own. The press gave Hustlers an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 79/100 on Metacritic. Bogus notions, maybe, but the NY strip-club scene can't quite carry that sort of myth-making weight. And instead of the swanky hotels and casinos on the French Rivera, we see the inner working of an NYC "high-end" "gentleman's club".

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By zooming in on authenticity, Hustlers highlights how this is a job like any other. However, she manages to elevate the strip club and its inhabitants beyond their usual depiction into something fully compelling and three-dimensional. Speaking of talent, Lopez reminds us of her considerable gifts after being a "tabloid" (or maybe "TMZ) staple for too long, almost being swallowed whole in ridiculous "rom-com" quicksand". This film has garnered comparisons to Scorsese, and while Scafaria doesn't have his visual sense, she does have his flair.

"I'm not saying that Jennifer didn't play a phenomenal role, and the movie did look cute, but it's just not accurate". Of course, no single movie could possibly transform the image of strippers in a world all too ready to judge them.

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Dorothy (Constance Wu), AKA "Destiny", is having a hard time learning the ropes at her new strip club, until veteran dancer Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) shows her the ropes.

Drenched in the trashy glitz and glitter-glue glamour of NYC nightlife, "Hustlers" is a thrilling, #squadgoals crime caper that gets you cheering for its antiheroes as they haul in mountains of ill-gotten cash.

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