HUSTLERS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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It’s GoodFellas, except they’re gals. No, really. This based-on-fact drama — inspired by a New York article by Jessica Pressler that you can read online — about New York City strippers who conned their clients out of lots of money is wonderfully redolent of Scorsese’s mafia masterpiece in both style and substance: the seductiveness of easy money, the giddiness of getting away with a perfect crime… the arrogance and the rashness and the greed that eventually leads to it all falling apart. It’s a cinematic bonbon of delinquent deliciousness.

But wait! Hustlers is also a sort of thematic sequel to The Big Short, 2015’s real-life satire on the 2008 Wall Street crash. (This one is also from Big Short producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.) The men targeted by our avenging protagonists are Wall Streeters, the assholes who crashed the economy in 2008, a few years before the bulk of events depicted here, and who suffered not one tiny consequence for that: they didn’t go to prison; they kept all their ill-gotten riches. “The game” that is the American economy “is rigged,” rages veteran stripper Ramona (Jennifer Lopez, in the performance of her career) as she woos her one-time protégé Destiny (Constance Wu, absolutely riveting) into the scam, “and it does not reward people who play by the rules.” So why should they play by the rules? Especially now that they are newly desperate precisely because of the financial havoc these men themselves wrought? Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).