Drain the Clock


17 September 2019| No Comments on Hustlers     by Sean Chavel


Diving right into the strip club milieu without batting an eye, the fervidly entertaining and scams unveiling Hustlers takes its true story premise very far. Constance Wu, as Destiny, is a sought-after “Scores!” type girl who doesn’t end up taking home big wads of money at the end of the night – most of her earnings go towards support of her grandmother – because she hasn’t learned all the tricks of the trade. Ramona (Jennifer Lopez, who has the charisma of a blowtorch in this flick), on the other hand, rakes it in all too easy and overdoses with spoiling herself with luxuries.

“Hustlers” is a captivating tell-all… that tells very much things I’m very happy to learn about indeed, but doesn’t exactly tell it all. We see Destiny is herself scammed at the club; like many, she has to pay to work there with an entrance fee, and work her tail off until she comes out ahead. At the end of the night, she has to pay off the bouncer, the DJ, the house mom, the proprietor who finds way to skim more off of the top.

Ramona doesn’t seem to have to do that, at least we’re led to think that. What’s missing is more in-details of how Destiny learns to override all those unnecessary pay-outs after she has learned the ropes from Ramona.

The arc of the film is a years ongoing saga, with the turning point building upon the market crisis of 2008, which ties this film calculatingly to topics brought up in “The Big Short.” When there are no Wall Street jerks to hit up strip clubs, the working girls hit a brick wall of their own. Their comeback, and the meat of the story, is how they scammed, i.e., mickey the drinks of affluent men at nearby high-end bars, dragged them to the strip club, and ran up their credit card limits.

I love the nitty-gritty of “Hustlers,” for it gives us a multitude of different guys, anecdotes and calamities in the last half of the picture. These girls are wicked operators, such as men commonly are in gangster films, with Ramona hard-as-nails perpetually. Destiny, and maybe another girl or so, have a guilt factor over how they dealt with nice guys who weren’t asking for trouble. But mostly the girls get high on the financial rewards of being very, very bad.

This is the third film I’ve seen from Lorene Scafaria. Her first was “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” which I felt she was not up to the task, it’s awful. Then I was pleasantly surprised by the moving widow and a daughter comedy-drama “The Meddler” with an evermore underrated Susan Sarandon performance. And now comes the bluster, and vividness, of “Hustlers.” She somehow convinced Lopez to play an obscene bitch, which it pays back in spades. Wu is thoroughly engaging, and I also liked Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer and Mercedes Ruehl; Scafaria creates a snappy and spontaneous camaraderie between all the girls in the cast.

110 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Flashdance” (1983); “Showgirls” (1995); “The Player’s Club” (1998); “The Big Short” (2015).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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