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21 (2008)


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 165
Fresh: 59
Rotten: 106

Critics Consensus: 21 could have been a fascinating study had it not supplanted the true story on which it is based with mundane melodrama.

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 9
Rotten: 27

Critics Consensus: 21 could have been a fascinating study had it not supplanted the true story on which it is based with mundane melodrama.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 366,604


Movie Info

Ben Campbell is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who--needing to pay school tuition--finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school's most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack in their favor. With unorthodox math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa leading the way, they've cracked the code. By counting cards and employing an intricate system of signals, the team can beat the … More

PG-13 (for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Peter Steinfeld , Allan Loeb
In Theaters:
Jul 22, 2008
Box Office:
Sony/Columbia Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for 21

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (106) | DVD (16)

If only director Robert Luketic and screenwriters Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb had not opted for glitz. As filmmakers, they're playing for very low stakes.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

The whizzo-conceit and slick visual bling do give it an undeniably diverting buzz, yet the movie's cautionary formula shows its hand way before the clunky final reel.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The students are so blandly written this never builds any suspense, though it probably has some value as an empowerment fantasy for debt-ridden collegians.

Full Review… | March 31, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Although it's definitely a fictionalization of a true story, they get the essence of this insanely crazy double life that these kids led as they were breaking the bank in Vegas.

March 31, 2008
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Inspired by the real-life story of the M.I.T. students who took Las Vegas casinos for millions, 21 has been reshaped to fit a simple movie template -- and it's nearly as much fun as watching an insurance professional compute actuarial tables.

Full Review… | March 28, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A movie with an irresistible premise that ultimately collapses around the whole issue of motivation.

Full Review… | March 28, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Craps out leaving you wondering how it all went so wrong.

Full Review… | October 24, 2012
Lyles' Movie Files

Too bland, too bright and too long, 21 may talk a big game but it is mainly insipid entertainment.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Luketic's dunderheaded, would-be caper is a morality tale where the only moral at stake is the dullard-hero's thoughtless entitlement

Full Review… | August 27, 2009

It's a slick enough movie, with an intriguing enough concept. It would be a much more enjoyable movie, however, if the wheels didn't come off script-wise.

Full Review… | July 24, 2009

One can't help but think there was a smarter film to be made from this premise.

Full Review… | March 29, 2009

When the movie 21 was announced with Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne, it sounded like a winner. When everybody else involved in 21 was mentioned, it was doomed to be a loser.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
Fayetteville Free Weekly

As ever with gambling films, it's difficult to convey the thrill of winning at second hand; the human-interest complications are unconvincing and Spacey himself, I'm afraid, is a lugubrious and deadening presence.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008

Spacey makes a nicely chilly villain and Bosworth a warm and glamorous leading lady, if an implausible maths genius.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Screen International

Disappointing thriller that's let down by a tedious script, a frankly ridiculous final act and some dodgy overacting by Kevin Spacey.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008

This is a prime example of a movie that isn't bad, per se, just unnecessary, a competently made but wholly unremarkable trifle.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008

See this for the sheer fascination of it.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
San Diego Metropolitan

Regardless whether there are a number of clichés and plot incongruities, this entertaining and fast-paced flick will find an audience hoping to learn how to beat the dealer.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Entertainment Insiders

Even though you can predict what happens, 21 is still fairly compelling for a movie about counting cards at a blackjack table.

Full Review… | October 1, 2008

It has some decent eye candy, but overall this film is bluffing if they think it's a great, intelligent blackjack film. I know I just used a poker term, but I doubt 21 would have noticed.

Full Review… | August 27, 2008
The Scorecard Review

Everyone involved should have known when to fold 'em. The movie is about as interesting as counting cards.

Full Review… | August 9, 2008
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Empty calories, yes, but tasty enough.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

Treating card playing as an exciting spectator sport rather than, say, about as thrilling as watching fishing for two hours, this offbeat cautionary tale warns all those impulsive casino-bound eggheads out there, that losers come in all IQ's.

Full Review… | July 23, 2008

Much like in Vegas, whatever happened in the book and made it so marvelous stayed in the book.

Full Review… | July 21, 2008
Paste Magazine

It may take a rocket scientist to successfully count cards, but not to wite a smarter script than what 21 delivers.

Full Review… | July 19, 2008
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Audience Reviews for 21


One of those movies I saw before I was too jaded to just sit back and enjoy a cliched drama once in a while, I will still defend that there is something worthwhile about "21". Maybe it's the cast, with Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne playing the kind of intimidating roles they were born for. Maybe its the infectious, neon Vegas imagery. Maybe its just the music, or the strippers. "21" kept me engaged the first couple times I saw it, so it must have that potential for others.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

A dynamic cast compiled by the help of one Kevin Spacey. 21 is a swift and smart story that is visually fascinating as it is clever. The film is brought down by the less-than-charismatic drama. Regardless of the uninspiring tone, the film is fair and solid enough to watch and enjoy. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

This movie just has so many points at which it should end, but it just keeps going and going and it isn't extremely interesting.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

Gotta love any rags to riches story, and when it deals with gambling and counting cards it's even better. Overall, good fun movie.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer


I gotta walk my dog.
– Submitted by Rémy C (2 years ago)
Ben Campbell:
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
– Submitted by Tim K (2 years ago)

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