In 2007, Asian-American beauty Dorothy (Constance Wu) worked at a strip club as the exotic Destiny. However, she felt she was not making enough money to support her and her grandmother.
She was stunned by the alluring pole-dancing style of the Latina star dancer Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who consistently took home a sizable amount worth of tips. Ramona generously shared the secrets of her trade to Destiny, and they became very close friends and popular dance partners at the club.
Then the 2008 Wall Street crash happened. The strip club closed down along with the investment firms, and the girls needed to find another way to make a buck.
Out of desperation, they had to go beyond mere stripping. Ramona initiated a plan of drugging their client just enough to fork over their credit card and give them their passwords so the girls can bleed the men dry.
I was very surprised how daring Wu was as an actress for accepting a role like this. I first knew her as the mother in the TV show "Fresh Off the Boat" (2015 to present). Then just last year, she became a bonafide movie star when she starred in the major box office hit "Crazy Rich Asians" (2018).
This year, she totally went against her usual wholesome mode to play a stripper -- wearing heavy make-up, two-piece bikinis, and gaudy accessories, and performing lap dances for her clients.
Even if Wu played the lead role, she was overshadowed by the gorgeous Jennifer Lopez who stole the show by owning the role of the strip goddess Ramona.
J. Lo's very first dance routine on the pole was mesmerizing, you just can't take your eyes off her as she slinked her flexible body around with such elegant pizzazz. When Ramona was teaching Destiny the basic pole moves, J.Lo again was very captivating with her graceful strength and sexy dance skills.
Now as far as J.Lo's sure-thing Oscar nomination in the Supporting Actress category, the buzz is really loud I won't be surprised if it happens come awards season. She is perfectly cast in that role -- her face, her body, and her dancing all looked so right.
The dramatic performance per se was not exactly spectacular enough to get excited about, but J.Lo's portrayal of Ramona is eye-catching and memorable nonetheless.
The main story of "Hustlers" went beyond its male counterpart, "Magic Mike," when the girls ventured into the world of crime. Ramona and Destiny were said to be making so much money in 2007 ("even more than a brain surgeon makes," according to her narration), one presumed they could already live off those earnings. I guess they just splurged on glamorous things and never thought to save up.
I didn't see Dorothy as that type of person, so I do not buy this this unfortunate turn of events. This is not empowering to women at all.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."