“Drain the clock, not the cock”Review by Lewis Goodall
If there was ever a film that would give out an STD then this film would be it. Right, onto the description.
Hustlers is based on a viral article written for the New York Magazine where a group of strippers conned Wall Street businessmen out of thousands of dollars by manipulating and drugging them. The film follows Destiny (Constance Wu), a new fish in the big pond of stripping. She starts at a new club where she is tutored by Ramoma (Jennifer Lopez) to become a master of the stripper pole. As the two work their way up to becoming the top mest to look at, a financial crash means that they are forced into a new path of hustling money from wall street prey in order to support their growing families.
I’m putting this film up against what I will call ‘The Vice Effect’. ‘Vice’ is an incredible film based on what Is a pretty dull story which is brought to life through incredible directing and editing (Lily reviewed ‘Vice’ here so I recommend giving that a read). The reason I mention this is because of course ‘Hustlers’ is also based on a true story. Vice took a boring story and made it fun, hustlers took an interesting story and made it dull. Where Vice used editing to make the story so naturally cool, hustlers tried so hard to replicate this same method of storytelling but it just came off incredibly weak and uninteresting.
The original story actually has some potential but the Hollywood storytelling nonsense sprinkled all over it was just sickening. Its incredibly cliche with its storyline and writing where I was predicting everything that is going to happen and it only went and did exactly what was I though was going to happen. They made it a typical underdog story who rises to the top, loses everything and then comes back on top again but included a buffet of poorly written characters, garnished in trashy acting and with a side order of unoriginality.
The characters themselves are just unlikeable, not at one point did I find myself onboard with what the characters were going through and I didnt feel emotionally attached to them at all. So as mentioned we follow Destiny, an orphan who takes care of her aging grandmother who is in debt. Destiny takes the job of a stripper and makes friends with all the other eye candy there. Some of these Include j-lo as mentioned, who is Destinys stipper version of Mr Miyagi. We have some other who I actually dont remember because they were all so dull and uninteresting that I dont want to waste my energy talking about them. I do have to mention Lizzo and Cardi B as they are plastered all over the posters. Lizzo is in the film for less than a minute, not even exaggerating, and Cardi B is there being her trashy self, I honestly dont think she was acting, I believe that they just had a camera pointed at her and let her be herself because it was all just trashy and uncomfortable. I know this film is based on strippers but they somehow managed to make the stripping scenes gross, not at one point did my blood cells trip take a vacation to boner town. I’m not saying that that is what I’m basing this film on, whether it excited me or not but my point is is that this film is supposed to be glamourising these women but it was just uncomfortable, I cant imagine anyone going ‘CORE YEAH BABY GIMME MORE OF THAT POLE WORK YEEEEEAH’ because all of the glamorous scenes came off as gross . I’m getting sidetracked but the characters are just unlikeable so it made the whole experience pointless because there was no rooting along with anyone to strive for them to achieve because what they are doing was just plain wrong which I’ll get into in a minute because its gonna get political. So I’ll talk about the editing first.
So as I mentioned literally 1 second ago, I’ll talk about the editing. Now the editing in this film was the only semi redeeming aspect of this film. There were moments of some pretty slick transitions which I was a fan of but other than those moments, the film came off as the nerdy kid who would wear what all the cool kids wears and then tries to fit in. It took a lot of inspiration from other films to attempted to implant a joke with quick cuts or attempt to make these women look like badasses when it just comes across as try-hard.
Now the political stuff that i have a problem with in terms of this film. So the whole story In general, the original story is pretty gritty with women drugging men a stealing their money. which is what brings me onto the film that attempts to glamourise this by making the characters seem as though they are independent women who are badass by drugging people. It felt uncomfortable that what they were doing was suppose to make you sympathise with what they did. A big problem I have with hollywood is the way it is towards women in the business. It confuses me that they talk so much about objectifying women but then go and make films like this which makes women objectifying themselves. This film was directed by a women which confuses me because at this point im trying to decide whether or not they are praising these women for being independent and drugging men, but then they get j-lo wearing an outfit where her anus was pretty much on show and having her dance for 5 minutes. I guess what I’m trying to get at with this is that I dont understand what they were going for with this film, I dont understand who the audience is suppose to be, are you justifying women drugging men? Do you want me to care about these characters who are unlikeable? The whole experience confused me and just adds to it feeling uncomfortable the whole way through.
Overall I feel as though you know where I’m going with this. This whole film is just the woman on the street corner in a leopard print skirt with withdrawal shakes. It the trashiest film I have every seen, not just in terms of the subject matter but in every aspect. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and pick myself up a self chlamydia test.