Hustlers is a bad soap opera designed to titillate with little purpose and reason to support the women in the business, of taking advantage of easy picking from men who initially are willing participants.
The women in the business come from different places but each finds that their physical appearance and wiliness to engage in intimate situations can give them what is initially an income for basic needs and later the opportunity to reach for the best clothing, apartments and cars.
The heart of the production simply spends time on the bodies of the ladies as they cavort and trick foolish men and march into various night spots to take on unsuspecting victims. Director Scafaria does take some time to show some guys who simply won’t drink the spiked drinks and a few others who say no-not interested. But the vast sea of characters we are very willing and the ladies take full advantage. They reach into the credit cards, especially the gold ones and the debit cards which can be drained.
Some of the activities are comical as men sign their credit cards while out of the real world Their marks are guys in the financial world before the depression that hit in 2008. With careless abandon and plenty of money to go around it all worked smoothly. Later as the market fell and the marks became less and less available the ladies go after old hits and have some success, but not enough to sustain the lavish life style they have developed. The new system they use revolves around drugging marks and emptying their financial profile as much as possible. In one case a mark calls one of the girls and asks her to return some of his debit money because he can’t even pay his mortgage. She says sorry. The girls also become angry when they see copy-cats playing the same game.
The story line is developed through interviews with Dorthy/Destiny (Constance Wu) who relates her problems supporting her grandmother, who was the only one that did not abandon her as a kid and how men would take advantage laying down bills on a counter for more and more intimate activity. In one case the guy puts down three hundred dollar bills which turn out to be twenties. There is little of that in the film which is not designed to explain or understand why these women enter the life-style. Julia Stiles plays the reporter following the story basically reacting the what Wu says.
The gilts looks good for a short time, but it’s not enough to carry the limited script.