HUSTLERS – Sisters Doing it for Themselves

I thought sending the young teenage male writer to review HUSTLERS was a sure winner. Haha. Unfortunately it backfired and Kernel Elie was less than impressed. HUSTLERS is out now from the fine folks at Roadshow Films, I mean they had me at J Lo and I’m really disappointed I was unavailable to review this one, have heard nothing but praise for her performance. Will catch it on Blu Ray later down the track.

HUSTLERS is rated MA15+ and runs for 110mins. Enjoy Elie’s thoughts on the film, he does make some valid points. All the best………….Salty.

Hustlers J Lo image
J Lo

BY ELIE ELKORR

HUSTLERS SYNOPSIS:

Working as a stripper to make ends meet, Destiny’s life changes forever when she becomes friends with Ramona — the club’s top money earner. Ramona soon shows Destiny how to finagle her way around the wealthy Wall Street clientele who frequent the club. But when the 2008 economic collapse cuts into their profits, the gals and two other dancers devise a daring scheme to take their lives back.

Hustlers Cardi B and Constance Wu image
Cardi B and Constance Wu

THE CAST – OPTIMUM CAMARADERIE:

The standout in HUSTLERS is the chemistry between all our lead characters. Bouncing off the success from CRAZY RICH ASIANS, Constance Wu makes a case for being able to hold her own as a lead star. Jennifer Lopez as Romana steals the show as a flirty rebel stripper. Even at fifty years old, Lopez remains a glamour; and boy can she still move! Whenever all the main girls are on screen exchanging dialogue, there is a real spark to HUSTLERS. There are some great comedic moments such as our leads embarking on a major shopping spree, and friendly chick-flick banter in the backstage dressing room of the New York strip club. One joke involving Lili Reinhart’s character Annabelle puking at random moments is totally childish and was a total facepalm considering the number of times the screenwriters decided to use it.

Cardi B as Diamond surprisingly stood out as a sassy and mouthful stripper who translated her singing persona onto the big screen. However, in the light of HUSTLERS, it works. Cardi B herself admitted to illegally drugging and robbing men when stripping in the early stages of her career, which is coincidentally what HUSTLERS revolves around. Ironic isn’t it. This was the perfect debut film for her. It’s a shame that B was restricted to a few minutes of screen time as she was surprisingly entertaining whenever she was on screen. There is also one cameo (which has no influence from the Article) in HUSTLERS that will attract a lot of fangirls and fanboys. This reviewer himself fell susceptible to this cameo’s charm.

Hustlers Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart image
Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart

A LOT OF STYLE WITH LITTLE SUBSTANCE:

HUSTLERS sparks to life with a magical opening 20 minutes. The glitter and glamour, however, wears off once our leads begin their heist. After its exciting opening, HUSTLERS is a one-trick pony. When our leads opt for their first Wall Street victim, its rinse and repeat following this encounter. HUSTLERS montages through basically the same scene just with a different corporate idiot. It becomes stale and boring. The spark of the first 20 minutes was out. There is no crisis at stake or any conflict to keep the plot going. As HUSTLERS spans across numerous years, including the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, there’s no explanation as to what our characters have been up to or how they ended up being in their position after the time jump. Constance Wu gets a boyfriend, then they have a child, and in the next scene they break up. There is no development whatsoever.

At its core, HUSTLERS message wreaks of enormous hypocrisy. The film attempts to establish a message of giving “misogynistic” Wall Street men a taste of their own medicine after being responsible for the downfall of the economy. The irony is that our leads end up feeding the corporate machine due to their abundance of spending sprees and lavish lifestyle. HUSTLERS teases an intriguing premise about the struggles of being a sex worker. Director Lorene Scafaria squanders a great chance at social commentary. HUSTLERS fails to capitalise on this dramatic story beat and rather opts for repetitive montages that showcase a lack of creativity and struggle to expand a newspaper article into a feature film.

Hustlers J Lo image
J Lo

WHAT IF THE ROLES WERE REVERSED:

Imagine MAGIC MIKE but instead Channing Tatum and Co drugged women and hustled bare dollars off their clients. Pretty sure there would be riots targeted at everyone involved in the making of that film. Just something to think about. HUSTLERS depiction of men is insulting. It paints all men as foolish individuals who show no emotion and lack any integrity. Every man is depicted as a rich corporate asshole who is easily subdued and are completely idiotic in their approach to engaging with women. Yes, some men completely treat women as pure objects for pleasure, but HUSTLERS is one dimensional in its approach to showing this.

Hustlers Constance Wu and J Lo image
Constance Wu and J Lo

IN CONCLUSION:

Following a magical opening 20 minutes, HUSTLERS’ spell quickly wears off following a repetitive and dull second and third act. Jennifer Lopez and her band of ragtag hustlers are exciting to watch. However, HUSTLERS crumbles in its hollow depiction of sex workers and a story void of any overarching conflict or substance.

YOUR CRITIC:

Elie Elkorr is a proud film critic and writer for Salty Popcorn. He is a movie fanatic and also runs his own Twitter page for movie reviews and news @TweetEReviews1. He likes calling out movies when they provide social commentary rather than focusing on actual story and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. His views are his own. He is also a Law and Film student on the side and is the heir to being Black Widow’s Boyfriend. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.