Director: Lorene Scafaria
Cast: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles
Release Date: December 10, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
HUSTLERS follows Destiny (Wu) a young stripper struggling to make ends meet. That is, until she meets Ramona (Lopez), the club’s savvy top earner, who shows her the way toward making big bucks. But when the 2008 economic collapse hits their Wall Street clientele hard, Destiny and Ramona concoct a plan with their fellow strippers to turn the tables on these greedy power players.
‘Hustlers’ tells the story of an inexperienced stripper named Destiny (Wu) new to the profession and uncertain of all the rough edges who befriends the experienced, confident and respected Ramona (Lopez) who takes her under her wing, the two quickly building a friendship along the way. After some time passing and each finding themselves on different paths, the two women coincidentally run into each other and end up joining forces along with a few others in order to start making massive money from drugging, luring and robbing rich men, relying primarily on their questionable activities in life preventing them from taking retribution. But as the stakes get higher and this group of women find themselves thrown into increasingly questionable circumstances, Destiny and Ramona also find themselves slowly drifting apart.
Directed by Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler, TV’s New Girl) from her own screenplay which was inspired by the magazine article written by Jessica Pressler respectively, Scafaria does a quite capable job at the helm of ‘Hustlers’ guiding along her own script and beautifully capturing the visual appearance and tone throughout. The film benefits tremendously from a cast that features some talented individuals and includes Constance Wu (TV’s Fresh Off The Boat), Jennifer Lopez (Gigli), Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne), Keke Palmer (TV’s Scream Queens), Lili Reinhart (TV’s Riverdale) and more, with many offering solid overall performances in their respective roles and helping significantly in allowing the film work as well as it does.
‘Hustlers’ is an entertaining film with some capable stars that offers a nicely crafted visual ambience of the world it explores and some capable individuals comprising the cast. It’s fun and frequently quite funny, although fails to truly allow us to understand and appreciate these characters, instead opting for focusing far more on their exploits, and often leaving us uncertain as to whether we want to see them get ahead or simply get caught and go down as a result of some pretty morally questionable decisions and an overall lack of empathy for their victims; many of which are probably deserving but certainly not all. The talented cast led by Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez is without a doubt the film’s biggest strength, with the talented leads allowing some heart and humanity to occasionally seep into these questionable characters, even with the film’s surprising lack of such bonding and camaraderie within the overall story. For dedicated fans of the lead cast, as well as anyone already looking forward to the movie or interested in it for one reason or another, it’s probably worth taking the time to check out whenever convenient. It has quite a bit going for it, even if it occasionally falters along its duration and the good helps to balance much of the negative. Chances are that anyone who already has the film on their radar will at the very least find it worth a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental one easygoing weekend when you’re looking for a more easygoing movie to kick back with.
Overall, ‘Hustlers’ is a beautifully detailed, frequently funny and altogether enjoyable film that somewhat disappoints in a few areas but still comes together quite nicely in other departments. For those already interested in the film and fans of the key cast, I would recommend giving ‘Hustlers’ a shot. It may miss out on some opportunities to expand beyond the generic story or further dive into the largely unexplored characters that populate it, yet definitely still manages to offer a consistently entertaining and amusing dramatic comedy with a solid cast that certainly shouldn’t have too much trouble holding your attention. Many will likely find it to be one worth owning, but if you haven’t yet seen the film it probably wouldn’t hurt to rent it before dropping the money on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release just to play it safe.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Hustlers’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic altogether and serves up a vividly colored and richly detailed presentation from start to finish that holds up without issue even during the various darkly lit and fast moving sequences throughout, never suffering any noticeable faults along the way or allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or problematic at any point. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation from Universal that hits all the marks and should easily thrill fans of the film.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack offers a crisp, clean and more aggressive audio presentation that you might initially expect. It repeatedly embraces all seven available channels in order to send music, bits of dialogue and crowd chatter, along with plenty more throughout the various speakers quite regularly, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a wonderful Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that nicely compliments the onscreen fun and should not disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Hustlers’ doesn’t offer much in the way of bonus content, although it does include an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria’ and ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ for the movie (running approximately 3 minutes combined).