Hustlers – Budget of $20.7 million – 1 hour and 50 minutes
In 2007, Destiny is taking care of her grandmother by stripping. She leaves home at 5:30 pm and stays at the club until the wee hours of the morning. She sleeps until 3 pm and does it all over again. She makes money but she has to tip everyone. The manager, DJ, bouncer, bartender, ‘Ma’. Everyone gets a percentage. By the end of the night, she leaves with a fraction of what she made. One night, she comes to work and sees Ramona on the pole. Destiny is spellbound by her moves. She meets Ramona on the roof and the pair talk. Ramona agrees to take Destiny under her wing to teach her the ropes. Ramona knows the men are mostly wall street men. And there are 3 types:
- Bottom: easy to swindle but not big earners. These are the guys who will pay for small items (computer, phone, etc)
- Middle: has money but they only take the legal risk, or not enough to get caught. This translates to the club. They will spend money but not enough to get caught by their wives or girlfriends.
- Top: the CEO, CFO, hedge fund managers. They do the absolute worst but pay the most. They don’t go through the front of the club, they have a private entrance with an elevator to a room with no cameras. They will treat you like crap but spend thousands.
Ramona tells Destiny she has to figure out the guy and play him accordingly. Ramona lives in a nice condo with her daughter Julie. She is close to Mercedes and Dimond at the club. The women are making money hand over fist. All seems well until September 29, 2008. The market crashed. However, Destiny was more worried about the two lines on her pregnancy test. She stops stripping for 2 and a half years. But when her unique life skills don’t translate into the corporate world, Destiny goes back to the club. But times have changed. Most of the women are new and they are willing to do a lot more for a lot less money. Then Destiny sees Ramona walk into the club with Mercedes. Ramona tells Destiny they don’t pole dance anymore. They ‘go fishing’ for the club. One of the women meets a man at a bar, introduces him to her ‘sisters’, and get him drunk enough to go to the club to spend his money. However, they have to make sure he is sober enough to sign the receipt. The women get a percentage of whatever the club makes. To round out the gang, Ramona finds Annabelle crying in the clubs changing room. She offers her a job with the crew. Everything is running smoothly until Ramona gets an idea to cut out the club since they are doing all the work. They will give the guys Ketamine mixed with MDMA and ask for vital credit card information. The women use that information to buy things. Destiny tells Ramona they should only pick men they know and guys that take drugs. This way the men can be convinced they did this by choice and won’t die from the drugs. Now, Ramona, Destiny, Mercedes, and Annabelle are taking wall street by storm. What can go wrong? Well, everything. Good thing, Destiny is talking to Elizabeth, a reporter, to get her side of the story straight.
Based on “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, it’s hard to believe all this destruction happened, but then again it happens every day. If you have ever been to Las Vegas, there is a good chance you were approached by a ‘fisher’ on the street. They offer free limo rides, free drinks, and cash for lap dances if you go to a club. These women took it to a new level in a matter of 5 years. For a while, these women ran their con like a legitimate business. They changed their drug recipe due to clients’ side effects. When the operation got too big, they outsourced. And they learned about their clientele and their weaknesses. Like any of the cons you see on American Greed, they got greedy and sloppy (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). You leave this movie wanting to know what else happened to the women. Yes, you get the conclusion of their crime but not their relationship. The movie spends so much time on the Ramona/Destiny connection but never close the book on it. On the other hand, the movie leaves it up to you to determine if Ramona is a sociopath, psychopath, or neither. This movie is good to see in the theater but you won’t feel an urge to buy it. However, you will watch it again on cable.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
Motherhood is a mental illness – Ramona
What do I need it for – Destiny
I think I’m gonna be sick – Annabelle
No, she sent her 2 kids to college, moved to Miami, and bought a nail salon – Mercedes
You should call her – Elizabeth