Hustlers film garners rave reviews

Hustlers stars (l-r) Lili Reinhart, Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer, and Constance Wu as opportunistic strippers.

Hustlers follow a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Hustlers is a new American comedy-drama film written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on New York magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler. The film stars Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B, and follows the story of a group of strippers who begin to embezzle money from stock traders and CEOs who visit their club.

The story centers around a group of strippers in New York City, led by an ambitious single mother, as they lie, steal, and hustle dozens of wealthy men when the sex industry bottoms out during the late-2000s financial crisis. A journalist covering the story for a magazine interviews one of the ringleaders and tries to figure out where it all went wrong.

The film stars Constance Wu as Dorothy / Destiny, a single mother who takes up stripping to support her family, and eventually concocts a scheme to scam and rob wealthy men with the help of her fellow dancers; Jennifer Lopez as Ramona Vega, a veteran stripper who mentors Destiny and helps set up her scam as a means of supporting herself and other strippers who’ve fallen on hard times; Cardi B as Diamond, another stripper who helps train Destiny; Keke Palmer as Mercedes, a stripper and one of Ramona’s associates; Julia Stiles as Elizabeth, a journalist writing an article describing the scam; Lili Reinhart as Annabelle, a stripper and one of Ramona’s associates; and features Lizzo as Liz, Mercedes Ruehl as Mama, Trace Lysette as Tracey, Usher as himself, Mette Towley as Justice, Madeline Brewer as Dawn, Stormi Maya as Angel, Frank Whaley as Reese, Brandon Keener as Alpha, Steven Boyer as Doug, Jovanni Ortiz, Jon Glaser as Mark, Paul A Nielsen as Detective Hunter, and Kersti Bryan as Amy.

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 92% based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 8.46/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews.” Kate Erbland of IndieWire gave the film a “A-“, calling it “funny, empowering, sexy, emotional, and a bit scary” and saying that the “Oscar chatter for Jennifer Lopez’s revelatory, nuanced, and emotional turn as a brilliant con artist and better exotic dancer is no joke.” Variety‘s Peter DeBruge wrote: “Flashy, fleshy and all-around impossible to ignore, Hustlers amounts to nothing less than a cultural moment, inspired by an outrageous New York Magazine profile…adapted by writer-director Lorene Scafaria at her most Scorsese, and starring Jennifer Lopez as you’ve never seen her before. Hustlers represent an acrobatic celebration of unbridled femininity, in which liberated ladies take full advantage of the power they hold over men.” Christopher Campbell says, “Hustlers is a classic underdog story and an award season crowdpleaser through and through. Its inspirations are far more Scorsese than Showgirls.”

The 107-minute long film, rated R for pervasive sexual material, drug content, language, and nudity, had its world premiere on September 7 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and dances into theaters in the United States on September 13, released here by STX Films.

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