Early reviews for this movie has stated that the actor formally known as or sometimes known as J-Lo (I don't even know or care anymore), has potential to be a runner up for Oscar contender. Well, going into the movie, I did keep that at the forefront of my mind and having heard one movie personality state that she was excellent at the beginning, I was thoroughly waiting for my socks to get blown off whilst keeping an open mind and let the movie as a whole do it. And did the movie do that? Let's just say, my socks were indeed moved, not completely off but past my heels at least.
Destiny (Constance Wu) lives with her grandmother and is an inexperienced stripper. She has moved from place to place struggling for tips but when she enters a new strip club, admires the strippers there and sees the potential to make a lot of money in the inner city, she is taken under the wing of Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) who teaches her the tips and tricks for chips. But when the recession hits, these strippers, also accompanied by Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and Annabelle (Lili Reinhart), start to realise, now that the strip club is running dry of customers and most importantly, the money, these women must find another creative way to keep the money coming in before they are out of work.
Based on a very true and real story which actually happened, real life events, I'm not sure if actual situations and some events were exaggerated for film, like how I felt for some or a lot of events and scenes from Pain & Gain was, but I actually enjoyed this movie, just like that one, but this one more. The scenarios, although got a little repetitive at times when the ladies were carrying out their plan and it could have possibly be done better with a montage, the use of inter-cutting away from the story to recount the events of said story with Elizabeth (Julie Stiles), helped to break the movie up a little as a stark contrast of the now and then. The acting was A*, especially with Jennifer Lopez if you only ever really knew her as a singer. Possibly being the only film I've ever seen Keke Palmer in (I'll need to have a look), she was great, especially the Hospital scene. Lili Reinhart was good as a newcomer (and also to me), as from the absence of Cardi B (which was very short lived) provided some nice comedy mixed with Keke's character as some of the scenes and how they played out provided much entertainment.
I'll give a few a examples; The women walking together into view in the bar was absolute gold. It was a type of quirky humour that may have been real, but if you think it really went like that in real life, you'd really want to question the levels these ladies went to. With that in the back of my mind whilst watching, provided excellent comedy value. A little like watching Pain & Gain and you wonder, "Did this really happen?" Another example is the kitchen and the baking scene as I audibly bellowed out a cackle because the scene was, indeed hilarious AND unexpected. Lastly, there is a scene where stripper Liz (Lizzo) comes running into the stripper's changing rooms and then all the strippers all run out. I couldn't stop myself from laughing at the next scene.
The director Lorene Scafaria (also new to me) did an excellent job in my opinion, bringing this story to life. And with producers such as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, you can only really insure some decent belly laughs. As for Constance Wu, she is very new to me as an actor and I had absolutely no problems with anything she did. She delivered and played her character well and I loved her dynamic with her Grandmother (Wai Ching Ho), some of us nerds will know her as Madame Gao from the Daredevil Netflix Series. Constance, famed for her roll in Crazy Rich Asians (In which she starred in a main leading role and a movie in which I did not see), it was nice to see this movie represented in this way even though it was heavily shadowed by Jennifer Lopez. Representation matters, especially when it isn't a classical stereotype. It will be nice to see more from her and I hope she will take on more roles across the board such as a Bond movie, Star Wars etc.
Lastly, I would say this is a very interesting film as it was based in true events. Very well shot, acted and the music was great. I was nodding and almost singing along in moments. The soft moments felt soft, the funny moments were indeed very funny and I felt the director did a great job with bringing this story across to film. The only downfall was when the movie ended, I would like to have seen the real people in real life, but other than that, an enjoyable watch. Go see!
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