Monday, July 21, 2008


21 (referred to in advertising as "21: The Movie") is a 2008 drama film from Columbia Pictures. It is directed by Australian director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) and stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, and Aaron Yoo. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team. The film draws from Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich.

Ben Campbell (Sturgess) may be shy, but his wallflower reputation betrays his inner brilliance. As smart as Ben may be, however, if he can't pay his tuition he'll be kicked out of M.I.T. Fortunately, the answer to all of Ben's problems is right there in the cards.

Recruited to join a team of extremely gifted students who have used their mastery of numbers to beat the odds at blackjack, Ben procures a fake identity in order to join the casino scammers and their brilliant leader -- eccentric math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (
Spacey) -- in some highly profitable weekend excursions to Las Vegas. Counting cards isn't illegal, and by using a complex series of signals, this team has cracked the code.

Of course, it doesn't take long for Ben to become seduced by the glamorous Las Vegas lifestyle, and the attention afforded to him by his sexy teammate Jill Taylor (Bosworth) finds him pushing his luck to the absolute limits. Fishburne stars as Cole Williams, the Sin City security chief who catches on to the group and makes it his mission to expose their lucrative blackjack scam.

The first and only time I have played the card game 21 at a casino was a couple of months ago and it was disastrous. First off, I was extremely drunk because for some reason, my girlfriend and friends thought it would be a great idea to go to the casino after we had already been drinking for a few hours. I contribute my intoxication to my $50 loss at 21, which didn't seem like too much until I lost a little bit more than that at poker a little later on that same night. Needless to say, I don't think I will be going back there anytime soon.

The whole counting cards scheme seems like a great idea to me and I wish I could do it but I still have to use my fingers to count most of the time. Before I even saw the movie 21 I could tell that little of it would be based on fact. I saw the History Channel documentary and read up on those MIT students. They counted cards on the weekends, at first just to see if they could do it and then to gain a profit. If you have seen the same documentary and know about this story already then this movie will seem like a different story to you. The movie is nowhere near close to the true story and even though most movies based on true events are, they usually at least try to.

The true story of the MIT students is way more interesting than the story in the movie, which is basic and runs rather long. The first half of the movie is quite good until it tuns up the drama and everything becomes predictable. I wish I could have seen, or at least close to, the true story of what really happened because 21 only does an okay job of it.

21: 6 out of 10

The DVD features a few things here and there, along with director's commentary, but I didn't hear what he was saying because I was too busy trying to figure out how to count cards.




Anonymous said...

Hey, you're pretty sexy.
You should also spend more time with your girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

No, really, fool. Turn around and spend some time with your girlfriend. The computer is not your girlfriend!!! ;)