The first sound you hear in Lorene Scafaria
’s fact-based “Hustlers
” is all about control — literally: It’s the opening lines of Janet Jackson
’s 1986 banger “Control
.” The placement of the song seems a bit incongruous at first, picking up backstage at a New York City strip club where it doesn’t seem as if anyone, especially shy exotic dancer Destiny (Constance Wu
), is in any kind of control.
She’s not, but Scafaria’s clever crime thriller eventually finds a woman who is: Jennifer Lopez
as the formidable Ramona. Based on Jessica Pressler
’s viral New York
magazine story “The Hustlers at Scores,” Scafaria’s third film follows Destiny
, Ramona, and a pack of some of their stripper pals — all loosely based on the very real women that populate Pressler’s 2015 story — as they move from pole dancing to glorified pickpocketing.
First, however, there’s a lot of dancing