How could you not love movie filled with girl power, music by Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Lorde, pasties, fun cameos by singer/rappers Cardi B and Lizzo, and tons of great lines like “Climb inside my fur” and “Drain the clock, not the c*ck,”. Fun, no? For a film based on a true story about strippers turned scammers right after the stock market crash of 2008 this is a ton of fun.
Wanting to take care of her grandmother (Wai Ching Ho – from television’s Daredevil) Destiny (Constance Wu – Crazy Rich Asians) turns to stripping. Not making enough money, she is taken under the wing of uber successful Ramona (Jennifer Lopez – Maid in Manhattan, Second Act). The two become fast friends and pretty rich. Like wearing furs, owning designer handbags and driving Escalades kind of rich.
The high life comes to a screeching halt when the Wall Street money dries up after the stock market crashes in 2008. There is no money for strippers. In order to keep up their lifestyle and to support their daughters, Ramona comes up with a scheme to bilk the men that are left out of their money. The scheme involves slipping a drug concoction in the man’s drink and then running up their credit cards.
Desperate, Destiny agrees. They assemble a crew along with fellow strippers Mercedes (Keke Palmer – from television’s Scream Queens) and Annabelle (Lili Reinhart – from television’s Riverdale). Success follows. So much so that they have to expand their crew to include others including the unreliable Dawn (Madeline Brewer – from television’s The Handmaid’s Tale).
Several times during the film you will find yourself shaking your head in disbelief. Know that those are probably the moments that actually happened. Amazingly! Certainly was wild times because of the market crash and gives those of us who were not there a peek behind the curtains.
With all the fun going on the film does not glamourize stripping at all. It is shown to be the tough, dangerous and demeaning job that it is. What is shown to be the light at the end of that tunnel is the strong female friendship. Total celebration of women banding together to get through hard times. Lopez and Wu have a great chemistry and truly look like friends. I don’t think much acting was done to that end.
Also, it realistically yet subtly shows that even women who think they might have some power in this world will often come crashing down to earth due to a man. A man who doesn’t think twice of degrading them or using his testosterone fueled dominance to humiliate.
What did look believable and like it must have been hard to learn was all the pole stuff JLo has to do. Wow! is all I am going to say about that. Never having really been a JLo acting fan (other than Out of Sight), I have to say this is her best performance in a long while. Totally convincing not only in her dancing, but as the momma bear of the group, she exudes smarts and warmth throughout.
-Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria