Time Out says
Jennifer Lopez delivers the performance of her career in this crime drama about a group of strippers taking on Wall Street.
Think Ocean’s Eleven with strippers and you’ve got the premise of Lorene Scafaria’s surprising, gripping Hustlers. Constance Wu stars as Dorothy, aka Destiny, the new girl at a hot Manhattan gentlemen’s club. The wildly successful Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) takes Dorothy under her wing and shows her how to get ahead in exotic dancing. But after the 2008 financial crash, the pair and their friends resort to criminal means to keep the cash coming in.
This is a deeply feminist film, one where men are given less screen time than the cameoing Cardi B and Lizzo. These women are objectified by the world (though rarely by Scafaria’s camera) and they use that fact to scam money and take revenge on Wall Streeters. The director treats the women as flawed, fractious characters and folk heroes, not sex dolls. She packs in some visual flourishes too, like a shaky-cam shot of one of the crew’s walk of shame to her daughter’s school. It’s a reminder that there’s more at stake for these women than the ability to buy designer clothes.
If Wu is compelling as Destiny, Lopez is magnetic as her savvy mentor. It’s her most authoritative role since Out of Sight. The plot, in contrast to the stars, sags in the middle and there are a few more celebratory hang-out scenes than we need, but the gang is so charismatic, it’s no great chore to spend extra time with them. Some people would pay thousands for just a few minutes.
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