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Stripped back crime thriller!

I knew very little about Hustlers before walking into my screening. I wasn’t expecting much – which perhaps helped in making this ‘true story’ such an unexpectedly pleasurable viewing experience.

While talking to a journalist, Destiny (Crazy Rich Asians’ Constance Wu) takes us back to her days of working in a strip club. She’s a struggling single mother who sees no other way to provide for her family. It’s soon into her time as a stripper that she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) – who makes a fortune due to being a confident people-person, and yes of course… that body of hers!

Destiny and Romana team up to seek new and creative ways to make more money and things are going great until the stock market crash of 2008. In a flash they’ve lost more of their customers.

Suddenly it’s harder to get the levels of cash the women had come accustomed to. Driven by desperation, they come up with the plan of drugging rich men and maxing out their credit cards.

Clearly this is not legal, but the men aren’t willing to tell the police they lost their money to strippers… and in many cases, they certainly aren’t going to risk their wives finding out.

Based on what little footage I’d seen of Hustlers, it’s clear the marketing team chose to use sex appeal as a way of selling tickets. It certainly features scenes that get the heart racing, but never pushed the line by exploiting the females or their story. This is much smarter than the trailer will have you believe.

Writer-director Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) takes a playful and stylish approach to her source material, but sadly chose to wrap things up way too hastily – which was a shame.

Usually I prefer my crime movies to be grittier, but I couldn’t help but give in to the fun. It reminded me of the movie Widows but ‘covered in glitter’ – and whether that sounds amazing or terrible will probably determine as to whether this is a film for you.

But as it stands this really doesn’t need an ‘aggressive sell’ – because for a movie night out it’s well worth stripping your wallet for.

ESP Rating: 4/5

Mikey Clarke

Cast: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Julia Stiles, Frank Whaley, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Mercedes Ruehl, Lizzo, Mette Towley, Madeline Brewer & Usher

Running Time: 1 Hr 50 Mins

Director: Lorene Scafaria

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