The Stripping in ‘Hustlers’ Is the Worst Part — Here’s Why

On Sept. 13, 2019, a film we’ve all been waiting for arrives: Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lizzo, Julia Stiles, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, and more. The flick is based on a true story, and it’s a fun blend of crime, thrills, comedy, and a little nostalgia. Here’s our review.

Jennifer Lopez plays a stripper in ‘Hustlers’

Yes, the stripping is what draws you into the movie. So it’s worth talking about. Hustlers stars Lopez as an ambitious stripper, Ramona, who takes Wu’s Destiny under her wing while they work at a club together. Everything is going great — until the financial crisis of 2008.

So naturally, there is plenty of stripping in this film (especially the first half). And while Lopez, Wu, and the rest of the cast clearly spent time learning the moves — and doing an impressive job, especially Lopez — that’s far from the best part of Hustlers.

The friendship at the center of it all

Really what this film is about is women supporting one another (and, at other times, failing to do so). Ramona doesn’t hesitate for a second when Wu comes to her and asks for tips. She teaches her everything she knows, and the two become close at work and outside of it.

As the movie goes on, we see that Ramona has a habit of finding women in need and helping them out. She loves hard, always focusing on her friendships, never even mentioning a romantic partner of the past or present. However, her downfall is that she can be a little too trusting.

Lizzo and Cardi B kill it

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When news first spread that rapper Cardi B and musician Lizzo were in Hustlers, many were surprised. Were they going to be there to perform? As it turns out, both played strippers in the first half of the film. And they killed it.

Cardi B was, famously, a stripper before rising up the charts, and she put it all out there in a few scenes, showing a level of comfort on stage. But she also was able to be the wise-cracking woman we know and love when speaking to her fellow strippers. Lizzo’s part was a bit smaller, but she shone just the same.

It’s oddly nostalgic

It seems really weird to be nostalgic for a time so recent, but Hustlers manages to make you laugh with a few poignant throwback moments. First, there’s the music, which is used perfectly to set the tone as the years pass. We won’t give anything away, but the jams really mark the time just right.

And the clothes — well, let’s just say Lopez has a moment where she channels her former Juicy sweat-wearing self, and it’s perfect. There are giant Louis Vuitton bags that put you right in the moment. And to really send the message home, there’s a timely celebrity cameo that had the entire theater laughing.

There’s a message here

Jennifer Lopez filming for 'Hustlers' in SoHo on March 29, 2019
Jennifer Lopez filming for ‘Hustlers’ in SoHo on March 29, 2019. | James Devaney/GC Images

While friendship is really the heart of the film, this movie does was The Big Short tried to do a few years ago: It hammers home just how devastating the financial crisis was for everyone. While the Oscar-winning film did this, it really just told us how it happened — it didn’t show the effects on the rest of the world.

Lopez and Wu portray women who are frustrated by the men of Wall Street who let all of us down, and they use their unique position to retaliate. But in the end, it’s not really about revenge at all — it’s about taking advantage of the system, just like they did. And it’s a message that is made clear as day: What they did was wrong, but no one can say it wasn’t justified.

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