21 (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

21 (2008)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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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 casinos big time. Seduced by the money, the Vegas lifestyle, and by his smart and sexy teammate, Jill Taylor, Ben begins to push the limits. Though counting cards isn't illegal, the stakes are high, and the challenge becomes not only keeping the numbers straight, but staying one step ahead of the casinos' menacing enforcer: Cole Williams.

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Cast

Jim Sturgess
as Ben Campbell
Kate Bosworth
as Jill Taylor
Laurence Fishburne
as Cole Williams
Kevin Spacey
as Prof. Micky Rosa
Jacob Pitts
as Jimmy Fisher
Josh Gad
as Miles Connoly
Helen Carey
as Ellen Campbell
Jack Gilpin
as Bob Phillips
Donna Lows
as Planet Hollywood Dealer
Butch Williams
as Planet Hollywood Dealer
Jeffrey Ma
as Planet Hollywood Dealer Jeff
Frank Patton
as Planet Hollywood Floor Manager
Steven Richard Vezina
as Red Rock Dealer
Chaska T. Werner
as Red Rock Dealer
Kyle D. Morris
as Red Rock Dealer
Ernell Manabat
as Red Rock Doorman
Frankie DeAngelo
as Red Rock Host
Marcus Weiss
as Red Rock Valet
Anthony DiMaria
as Hard Rock Doorman
Christopher Michael Holley
as Philosophical Gambler
Terasa Livingstone
as Russian's Girlfriend
Colin Angle
as Professor Hanes
Kieu Chinh
as Chinese Woman
Alice Lo
as Chinese Woman
Sally Livingston
as Chemistry Review Girl
Henry Houh
as Chinatown Dealer
Frank Chen
as Shinatown Host
Celeste Oliva
as Airport Screener
Christian Mello
as Drunk Dude
Greg Seymore
as Drunk Dude
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News & Interviews for 21

Critic Reviews for 21

All Critics (165) | Top Critics (37)

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

Like the Strip itself, it's all lights and music throbbing so hard you confuse yourself into thinking you're having fun.

Full Review… | March 31, 2008
I.E. Weekly
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

Audience Reviews for 21

½

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

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