A slight problem here

“This whole country is a strip club. You got people tossing the money and people doing the dance.” So proclaims Jennifer Lopez’s wily stripper turned con artist, Ramona, in Hustlers, which raked in $33.2m (£26.6m) in the US on its opening weekend, making it J-Lo’s biggest opening weekend for a live-action movie.

Hustlers is a pretty decent film about a pretty indecent proposal – namely that Ramona and her colleague, Destiny (Constance Wu), drug and steal from their moneyed clients in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

But it’s also something else: proof that, until now, praise of J-Lo’s acting talents have been confined to a few standout performances, such as her acclaimed role opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight (1998). For every triumph (see also her 1997 turn as the Mexican-American singer Selena), Lopez has been served up a total stinker of a role by Hollywood, from Gigli (a film the Guardian described as “catastrophic”) to The Back-Up Plan, a film so by-the-numbers that they may as well have projected mathematical formulae on to cinema screens. She has often been confined to perfunctory romcom territory, cliched Latina territory or both (see the sub-Pretty Woman action of Maid in Manhattan).

I’m under the impression that actors get to choose the roles they’ll do. Thus the complaint should be that Lopez – and or her advisers – choose stinkers.

9 comments on “A slight problem here

  1. Would you know what sort of film you’ve chosen to perform in? The concept presented to you could look good. The lines your given acceptable. The scenes you act in your comfortable with.
    But it’s how a film’s finally put together that produces the end product. And it’s easily possible to use all the same scenes & script & make two or more entirely different films out of them..

  2. BiS: Would you know what sort of film you’ve chosen to perform in?

    I should think that the star’s contract runs to more than one side of paper and could be fairly specific on that and many other points.

  3. If it were that simple, TMB, all films would be good films. They all start out by being good films. That’s why they’re made.

  4. You need to be in a project (of any kind, really) that goes wrong to realise that even with good intentions all round things can turn out wrong. You don’t know it’s a stinker until it’s too late. You don’t find out that people you liked who promise great things just can’t deliver. But that is the way of the world, and Sturgeon’s Law is universal.

  5. The biggest problem is imagining that anyone today would pay 50 year old Lopez to take her clothes off.

    Ok, maybe Weinstein would…..

  6. “The biggest problem is imagining that anyone today would pay 50 year old Lopez to take her clothes off.”
    I doubt most of JaLo is 50 years old. On average she’s still in her teens.

  7. True, a promising project can go horribly wrong but I don’t think that many of her poorer films were even remotely on course to be Citizen Kane before she signed on the dotted line.
    It’s also the case that a “bankable” star can often get films green lit. If she had been that desperate about the quality of roles she was being offered she could have sought out more promising films which were having problems finding funding i.e. 99.9% of independent projects.
    Of course she would have had to work a bit harder and maybe take a bit of a pay cut every so often but apparently she preferred to sit back and just select from studio pictures offered to her along with multi-million dollar pay cheques.

  8. rhoda klapp,

    “You need to be in a project (of any kind, really) that goes wrong to realise that even with good intentions all round things can turn out wrong. You don’t know it’s a stinker until it’s too late.”

    but I don’t think J-Lo is aiming high. She’s not trying to work with great directors. I suspect she’s not much of an actress, so isn’t trying to do oscar winning parts, but make a ton of cash.

    Even this role, how far is it from her? She’s a woman who dances for a living. Not a huge stretch, is it?

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