Sisters are doing it for themselves in Lorene Scafaria’s parable about women grabbing their own piece of the action.



Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez 


A stripper’s life is not a happy or a very lucrative one, or wasn’t when Jessica Pressler wrote her New York magazine article based on the real-life efforts of a bunch of pole dancers who decided to raise their money stakes by ripping off  the Wall Street punters frequenting their city nightclub. It’s 2007 and stripper Destiny (Contance Wu) who’s feeling the income pinch, encounters the club’s senior performer Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) who encourages her fellow pole dancers to turn the tables on their clientele by hustling them into paying over the odds for their favours. Ramona teaches the tyro Destiny the best pole dancing moves, while Diamond (Cardi B) instructs her friend in the art of lap dancing.


When the latest Wall Street crash of 2008 occurs, Ramona, Destiny, Diamond, Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) still need to keep the cash flow going in their direction, so set about getting their money’s worth from their bozo clients by drugging their cocktails, acquiring their credit cards and ripping off their bank accounts. If all this sounds nefarious, the film portrays the women’s activities more as comedy than serious drama. And oddly enough nobody went to jail… or not for long.


It’s good, I suppose, that here the slingback is on the other foot with the girls taking charge of their destiny. However, although it’s big and brash, fast and loud, I found Hustlers a fairly routine effort, admittedly with some starry performances, especially from Jennifer Lopez who may even earn an Oscar nomination or two. Not only does she give a literally high-kicking performance, but she is also a co-producer as well. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria relishes her material and delivers a solid product that should please a Friday night multiplex audience rather more than it does me.




Cast: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Mercedes Ruehl, Cardi B, Lizzo, Mette Towley, Wai Ching Ho, Madeline Brewer, Steven Boyer, Trace Lysette, Devin Ratray, Usher, Frank Whaley, Jon Glaser, Zac Jaffee. 


Dir Lorene Scafaria, Pro Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina and Jennifer Lopez, Screenplay Lorene Scafaria, based on a New York magazine article by Jessica Pressler, Ph Todd Banhazi, Pro Des Jane Musky, Ed Kayla Emter, Music Linden Joseph, Costumes Mitchell Travers.


Gloria Sanchez Productions/Nuyorican Productions/Annapurna Pictures-STX Entertainment.

110 mins. USA. 2019. Rel: 13 September 2019. Cert. 15.