REVIEW: ‘Hustlers’ leaves the audience disappointed

A film starring big-name celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, and Lizzo as strippers, is sure to catch anyone’s attention. When the trailer for “Hustlers” went viral, it quickly became one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. Unfortunately, this spectacle of a trailer was innately misleading.

The trailer for “Hustlers” gives viewers the impression that it’s a heist movie —with vibes similar to “Oceans 8” or “Widows.” That is not what this movie is. The trailer also fails to mention that “Hustlers” is based on an article published in New York Magazine —this hustle actually happened.

The story is told through the eyes of Destiny, played by Constance Wu, a new stripper struggling to make money in one of New York’s hottest strip clubs. The club is packed with wealthy Wall Streeters —carelessly spending their cash. The film is set just before the Stock Market Crash of 2008

Soon, Destiny meets Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez, a larger-than-life stripper who knows the game like the back of her hand. Ramona is single-handedly the best part of this movie. Lopez manages to give a performance that pulls the audience in and makes them care for her character, despite her many, many flaws. Lopez brings her sexiness, confidence, and authenticity in a way she never has before.

The rest of the film does not live up to the glamor and audacity of its biggest asset. After the 2008 financial crisis, Destiny is left pregnant and unemployed—so she relies on a boyfriend to take care of her.

When she finally leaves him, she goes back to the club, but things have changed drastically. All the women are Russian immigrants, and the club lacks the spectacle it once had. After a bad experience with a patron, Destiny seeks out Ramona again. When she finds her, Destiny is invited to join Ramona’s newest escapade —“fishing.”

“Fishing” is slang for finding rich men at bars, getting them drunk, and bringing them back to the club to rack up their bill. Ramona, Annabelle (Lili Reinhart), and Mercedes (Kiki Palmer) are frequent fishers. Destiny joins and sees the other women as her sisters —things seem to be looking up.

The game changes when Ramona starts drugging the men so it’ll be easier to convince them to come to the club. “Hustlers” doesn’t address the ethical dilemma this poses.

The film paints the victims as horrible, money stealing CEOs —which could be amazing, but it doesn’t dig deep enough into the “eat the rich” narrative to make it effective.

“Hustlers” had the opportunity to send a message about class conflict, rights of sex workers, and feminism, but it falls short as it tip-toes around these important issues.

Whether the hesitation was due to fear of the masses not agreeing, or simply lazy writing, “Hustlers” was a dissapointment.