“We’re a family now. A family with money!”

Many classic films are based on true life events. After all, fiction might be entertaining, but there’s nothing quite as thrilling as a story that actually happened. Well, what’s better than simply a true story?

A true story featuring lots and lots of strippers.

“Hustlers” tells the story of the 2015 New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Score”. It centers around Destiny, a rookie stripper. When the sex industry loses most of its business due to the 2008 financial crisis, she teams up with Ramona, a more experienced stripper, to find less legal ways to get money out of their clients.

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I was convinced it would be an absolute mess. A movie about strippers starring Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Lizzo and Usher doesn’t sound like a recipe for anything other than a mess. To my surprise, however, I was completely wrong.

This film really impressed me. It took what could have been a trashy, generic, over-sexualized film and turned it into something special.

This was mostly thanks to the fantastic performances of Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. The two felt incredibly genuine and believable in their roles as good people doing bad things to get by. Whenever the two were together, you could see exactly how the characters were feeling just by looking at their faces.

While I’ve never been particularly impressed by Jennifer Lopez as an actress, maybe she found her niche in this movie. She plays the “baddest chick in the room” amazingly, and she always gives off an intimidating vibe that just makes you want to respect her.

Lopez and Wu are backed up by an impressive cast, with the highlights being Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart. When the four get together, its easy to see why the characters call each other “sisters.” The chemistry the four share is unbelievable and makes for a great viewing experience.

“Hustlers” is an example of a film with fantastic sound editing. It’s is filled to the brim with catchy pop tunes from the past fifteen years that seem to fit perfectly with each and every scene. On top of that, many scenes play with audio in creative ways that threw me for a loop and almost audibly made me go, “wow, that was a great choice.”

One of the things that had me worried about the film was its heavy promotion of Cardi B and Lizzo in the cast. Now, I have nothing against their music, but history shows that popular musicians are rarely good actresses. Luckily — or, disappointingly, depending on how excited you were for their inclusion -- the two are barely featured in the film. When they are on screen, they do a fine job and weren’t overly distracting.

Pretty much my only complaint with the film is that it felt a little long, which is a little sad, seeing as how the film is only 107 minutes. Multiple scenes went on much longer than they should’ve and left me wondering, “what’s the point?”

I still cannot believe how much I enjoyed “Hustlers”. While the film might seem over-sexualized for the purpose of trying to get butts in seats using big names at first glance, it is actually an enjoyable and impressively made movie.

4/5 Stars

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