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You ever see a trailer for a film, and it makes you worried about how it's going to handle the premise? That's how I felt when I saw the first trailer for Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers. You think a film about strippers scamming huge sums of money out of Wallstreet and rich punks in a heist thriller would be sleazy and entirely male-gaze-centric. Luckily, with Lorene Scafaria's directing and writing, Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu as the leads, you get quite a fun ride!
Much of what makes this work is the dynamic chemistry between Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. I love how the two work off each other, as you have the young starry-eyed pupil and the veteran who knows what is what. The film has a lot of fun with the entire strip bar heist premise, and while the film is showing the characters in a negative light, and what they did was not okay, it is also executed in a way where you are enjoying the ride alongside them. It's a film that's fun to watch, knows what kind of tone is appropriate for it, and has great acting. While I don't know what the final lineup of Best Actress nominees will be, I can see why Jennifer Lopez is getting buzz. This might be her best role since Out of Sight, which is one of my favorite movies. She owns this film, and while the overall cast is great, she is leagues above everyone else. You also feel for Constance Wu and her situation, because sometimes, life doesn't give you a good hand, and you have to adapt and do what you can to survive or get out of that moment.
I think the issues I have with the film are the same ones everyone else has. It's not a bad idea to do this as a sort of flashback-style story, but it does hurt the pacing, and it feels abrupt when the reporter character chimes in. They could have either told it as a linear story or done something more stylish with how the story was told. Also, any guy being a punk and complaining about Lizzo and Cardi B being in the film needs to just zip their lips. They are only in it for, like, five minutes. This is more of an issue with comments I see for the film, but still. People need to stop having a heart attack with these two appearing in the film.
While it might not be the most original story told, and I am aware that some parts of the real-life story were changed for this film, I still really enjoyed Hustlers, and not because it has a bunch of beautiful women in it. It's a fun and amusing heist thriller that I would play it again!
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