Three 6th grade boys ditch school and embark on an epic journey while carrying accidentally stolen drugs, being hunted by teenage girls, and trying to make their way home in time for a long-awaited party.
Keith L. Williams,
"Hustlers" (2019 release; 110 min.) is "Inspired By a True Story", we are reminded at the beginning. As the movie opens, it is "2007" and an Asian-American girl named Dorothy is getting ready for work at a strip club. Then a Latina woman named Ramona makes her grand entrance and does a spectacular pole dance as Fiona Apple's "Criminal" blasts from the speakers. Duly impressed, Dorothy reaches out to Ramona for some dancing tips, and the two hit it off. We then go to "2014" where we see Dorothy being interviewed by a journalist... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, whose "Seeking a Friend For the End of the World" some years ago was one of my favorite movies of that year. Here she takes a New York magazine article and turns it into a wild, wild movie. Beware: not much is left to the imagination. The grand entrance of Jennifer Lopez in that opening scene's pole dance is nothing short of stunning. In fact, the same can be said about Lopez's overall performance, which should be Oscar nomination-worthy, and certainly is a career-best performance. Lopez turned 50 this year, and looks about 35. She takes control of the movie, and requests, makes that demands, your attention. You are more than happy to give it to her. Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhardt round out the primary performers. Check out Cardi B and Lizzo (part of the strip gang). When a movie's principal set is a strip club, you can expect a lot of fist-pumping music, and the movie more than delivers on that level. In addition to the aforementioned Fiona, there are songs from Britney Spears, Janet Jackson ("Control", of course), Fat Joe, Queen She, 50 Cent, and many, many more.
"Hustlers" premiered a few weeks ago at the Toronto International Film Festival to immediate acclaim, and was released wide last weekend (outperforming expectations at the box office). The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati in its second weekend of release was attended very nicely (a good 30 people in a small room). If you have an interest in seeing a gritty yet funny stripper drama starring an Oscar nomination-worthy Jennifer Lopez, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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