By Chris Dugopolski
Hustlers, if taken seriously, sets back the “Me Too” movement by about 60 years. If not taken seriously it is a bit of fluff, not worth the price of a ticket unless someone wouldn’t mind seeing Jennifer Lopez almost nude doing a long sexy pole dance. That scene might be worth the price of a ticket because the fifty-year-old Jennifer Lopez looks half her age and steals the movie. She is one of the producers, but not listed first in the cast. That starring title belongs to Connie Wu who is overshadowed by J-Lo throughout the movie.
The story is based upon a story in New York magazine and starts in 2007. Destiny, played by Connie Wu is a poor uneducated but beautiful young woman helping her aging grandmother by getting the only job that pays her. She is a stripper at a New York club. Early on we see how the club exploits her by taking a large chunk out of her tips. That is until she meets Ramona, played by J-Lo. While Ramona is on stage “dancing” money is being thrown at her, until it more than covers the stage. Ramona then shows Destiny how to make real money in the backroom by exploiting the rich Wall Street guys, getting them drunk, teasing them and using their credit cards. This goes on until the Wall Street crash in 2008. At that point, they readjust. None of the characters are very well developed and we neither feel sorry for the women nor the guys. For example, Destiny has a baby and we get a glimpse of the dad, but we know nothing about their relationship or why they broke up. Ramona also has a child about which we know even less. This is not a character-driven movie, nor does it seem to even have a moral center.
The movie is directed by Lorene Scarfaria, who also wrote the screenplay based upon the magazine article written by Jessica Pressler.