Hustlers from Lorene Scafaria [1/10]

If a more boring and tawdry movie than “Hustlers” has come out in the last half decade, I’m unaware of it. After a passably dramatic opening scene in which super-lithe Ramona (played with a body-built physical presence by Jennifer Lopez that never offers any nuance or empathy) wows customers at a strip club and entrances rookie stripper Destiny (a clueless performance from Constance Wu), the movie devolves into a tension-free half-doco about sex workers scamming Wall Street morons. No central villain emerges as antagonist, so if you think the trailer presages a thriller, you are dead wrong. As for emancipating American sex workers by portraying them as swearing, materialistic “winners,” I can’t see any vestige of realism or sympathy in the heavy directorial hand. To sum: barely a plot; veneer-thin acting; semi-exploitative subject matter while pretending to honor; clunky transitions; excruciating dialogue . . . nada.

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