Jennifer Lopez’s Best And Sexiest Performance Is Streaming Right Now
Jennifer Lopez gave her best and sexiest performance in the crime thriller Hustlers, streaming on Hulu.
Jennifer Lopez has been known as one of the world’s sexiest women from the very beginning of her career as one of In Living Color’s Fly Girls to her more recent turns as a suspiciously J.Lo-like pop star who marries Owen Wilson. That has never been more clear than in her 2019 crime thriller movie Hustlers, in which Jennifer Lopez plays a veteran stripper who takes a more inexperienced dancer under her wring in a series of increasingly criminal schemes. Hustlers is currently streaming on Hulu.
Hustlers stars Jennifer Lopez as Ramona Vega, a knowledgeable, empathetic, and ruthless exotic dancer who befriends the film’s protagonist Destiny (Constance Wu) in a New York City strip club. While Constance Wu is the center of the movie and primarily narrates it (in a Goodfellas-like running exposition), it is clear from the very moment that Jennifer Lopez steps on screen that she is the star of the film.
After a series of scenes in which we see Constance Wu’s inability to effectively hustle the customers in the club, Jennifer Lopez is introduced with an extended, incredibly sensual pole dance routine to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” and the movie instantly puts us in the same awed, nearly worshipful place as Constance Wu.
Hustlers was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria and based on the non-fiction New York magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, who is represented by Julia Stiles in a framing device of Constance Wu being interviewed. According to the director, as soon as she was done with the screenplay, she could think of no one other than Jennifer Lopez who could play Ramona. In truth, it is hard to imagine anyone else even giving it a shot. Ramona is a paradoxical combination of motherliness, streetwise attitude, warmth, self-serving rhetoric, and raw sexuality, and Jennifer Lopez gives it her all.
In large part, the movie’s success rides on Jennifer Lopez just as much as Constance Wu (and her gang of hustlers, including Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Cardi B) relies on Ramona’s charisma and chutzpah. Of course, it takes an actress with the kind of dance background, physical coordination, and sheer magnetism to pull off that strip routine, which Jennifer Lopez did not use a body double for. Who else could?
As the movie progresses, it begins incorporating more and more commentary on the uneven handling of financial crimes in the United States, particularly once the 2007 recession shuts down Constance Wu’s income flow and Jennifer Lopez recruits her into a scheme in which they drug high-rolling businessmen and use their credit cards to run enormous tabs at clubs, which gets them a percentage kickback. In true Goodfellas style, everything is great until it isn’t.
Hustlers takes a vivid, sympathetic, and merciless look at both the lack of consequences for any of the white-collar criminals who caused the recession via sub-prime mortgages and other underhanded financial maneuvers and how people like Jennifer Lopez’s character can use that as a justification to destroy the lives of individuals who they assume are culpable. As Ramona, a woman seen as both a near-literal goddess of sex and a retail worker struggling to bring home a paycheck, Jennifer Lopez found her best role ever.