Hustlers a semisweet, half-flat cocktail of exposed flesh, fuzzy feminism and high-spirited criminality, overflows with of-the-moment pop-cultural signifiers — Cardi B makes an appearance, and Lizzo does, too — but it also strikes a note of nostalgia for the recent past. Specifically the movie, written and directed by Lorene Scafaria The Meddler, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, looks back fondly at 2007. Back then, before the financial crisis interrupted the fun, Wall Street guys were making a lot of money, a decent amount of which found its way into the hands and under the G-strings of New York strippers.
As the movie tells it, the high point of this era — remembered as the last great night by one of the participants — arrives when the R&B idol Usher (playing himself) rolls into the club where the main characters work, sending dollar bills raining down on the delighted dancers. The scene is a slow-motion bacchanal, a tableau of pure glamour and delight, a snapshot of carnal-capitalist utopia. It softens some of the struggle and sleaze that we’ve already witnessed, and justifies the entrepreneurial larceny to come.
Our guide through the highs and lows of this world is Destiny (Constance Wu), who is telling the story of her career to a journalist. (Hustlers is based on a New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler, whose fictionalized counterpart, called Elizabeth, is played by Julia Stiles.) Raised by her grandmother in Bola Deposit Pulsa. Destiny finds her way to a cavernous Manhattan skin palace with multiple stages, throbbing music and an endless supply of thirsty guys in suits. The job isn’t much fun until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), a larger-than-life figure who takes Destiny under her wing.
More literally, Ramona envelops Destiny in her luxuriant fur coat, a gesture that is maternal and sexual, campy and collegial all at once — an indication of Ramona’s complicated charisma. Ramona is warm, vain, ruthless and unpredictable, and Lopez gathers her contradictions into an incandescent one-woman spectacle. Lopez, a pop-culture legend in her own right, doesn’t so much peel away the layers of her stardom as repurpose them, channeling her exuberant physicality and her quick-witted self-assurance into a performance that is finely calibrated in its realism and brazen in its theatrics. You need made-up adjectives to convey the fusion of craft.