Hustlers

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Here’s my riddle:

This week I’ve seen

Four Martin Scorsese movies

But no movies

Directed by Martin Scorsese.

Ho ho ho. The answer, of course, is that I’ve seen Joker, thereby seeing Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, and now Hustlers, thereby taking in GoodFellas and Casino.

Luckily, Lorene Scafaria’s adaptation of a fascinating New York magazine article, despite being astonishingly derivative on a directorial level, has some fresh vibes in the excellent chemistry between Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez, as a young stripper and her mentor who turn to crime in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. Their friendship is believable and enjoyable, and carries the movie through its otherwise unbearably repetitive (and long) second act into its pacy and legitimately compelling third. They’re supported by a terrific ensemble, including Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart and Mette Towley; when they’re not required to laugh hysterically at each other’s sass like everything that everyone says is the funniest thing ever – seriously, spending three minutes in the strip club’s raucous dressing room is exhausting given the level of bonhomie – they exude a communal warmth that fuels the film’s buoyant spirit. Fun.