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Hustlers

****
2019

‘…it’s a big, flashy, entertaining movie that poses a few interesting moral questions alongside the handbag porn…’

One critic went with ‘the most important film of the year’ for Hustlers, which would be a pretty damning condemnation of the inconsequential quality of much of the 2019’s films. Hustler feels like the latest reaction to the MeToo era, through the sub-genre of creating crime movies with a ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’ vibe. With credits for both ‘Stripper consultant’ and ‘Wall Street Consultant’, at least the production has done some due diligence on the subject in hand, and it shows.

Hustlers follows on from Oceans 8 (awful) and Widows (better) as a number of female star names join forces to make a buck and beat the system, with various male antagonists in their way. Based on an article and taking some inspiration from a real story, writer/director Lorne Scafaria’s film doubles-down on the bitches-get-riches formula, keeping the stakes small and realistic; Constance Wu from Crazy Rich Asians is Oliver to Jennifer Lopez’s pole-dancing Fagin, teaching her how to dope strip-club clients with a mixture of Ketamine and MDMA while the girls cleans out their bank accounts.

Of course, their clients are Wall Street scumbags, so Hustlers feels that the victims deserve all they get, and it’s only when Wu’s character shows mercy to one client that things fall apart. Hustlers does seem to have a sociological statement up its sleeve; that women, given the chance, will be as greedy as men; paying granny’s medical bills is the initial motivation, but funky expensive shoes and handbags prove to be the real undoing of Lopez’s gang.

Much as I, Tonya took the clichés of the Scorsese gangster movie and revitalised them by having a female point of view, Hustlers is a female-version of Goodfellas, the fun is watching a gang come together and fall apart due to greed. Pop stars Cardi B and Lizzo have brief cameos to add value, and Usher manages a brief cameo as himself in which he manages to enter a nightclub and say his own name, pretty much the level of achievement that might be expected of a five-year old in a nativity play. But Wu and Lopez have lots to do, and they do it with great style; Lopez’s dancing is pretty sensational, and she’s got her career back on track after the hilariously awful Second Act.

The punchlines can be summed up in two lines the two lines; ‘’ Hurt people hurt people’ and ‘motherhood is a mental illness’. Hustlers looks at women, greed, crime and money, and it’s an absorbing mix of Goodfellas and Flashdance; it’s a big, flashy, entertaining movie that poses a few interesting moral questions alongside the handbag porn.

Thanks to STX for advanced access to this film.

Comments

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  1. I liked the theme of the film that bad women can be as bad as bad men and the way it shifted ground from understandable reasons for criminal activity to just greed. Well done and Lopez back on form.

  2. Kids for generations will learn to hate you as the Man who Disses Nativity Plays. Those plays are the high points of some kids acting careers you know.

    I probably wasn’t going to check this out, but then I saw it was an amazon original, so I’m definitely not. Burned enough times to know better by now.

    • I’m not expert on Usher, but managing to say your own name falls short of a star turn or a knowing cameo. In general, I don’t review nativity plays.

      I’m not sure Hustlers would be a good fit for you.

      • I thought Usher was a singer anyway? Either way, I hope he wore a tux in his scene. Can’t be an Usher without a tux.

        From the first pix you included I knew this wasn’t for me 😀

        • I’m not sure, I was asked to be an Usher at a friend’s wedding, so maybe it’s possible for me to be a singer like him?

          • I don’t see why not. With technology today even I could be a singer, if I wanted to be (which I don’t, just to be clear).
            But if you wear a tux, then you’re an Usher. I hope he welcomes you to his family appropriately….

            • No reason for you to want to be Usher when you know one like me. I knew him before his house fell.

                • An estate agent called Edgar Alien Poet write a book called Usher the rapper’s condo fell down last Tuesday. Very influential.

  3. Agree with you here. I watched Hustlers and was surprised how much I liked it. It wasn’t so gritty that I had to feel too bad for the guys they ripped off. Also made me wish somebody would give Julia Stiles a good role

    • Thanks for this! And thanks for following my blog, apparently a new development! Julia Stiles is great, and totally agree, she deserves more. But this film walks a tricky line and gets it right; it’s glam, but it also has enough grit to get a message over.

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