21 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

21 Reviews

Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 18, 2008
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 | Original Score: C
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Time Out
April 11, 2008
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 | Original Score: 2/6
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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
March 31, 2008
Like the Strip itself, it's all lights and music throbbing so hard you confuse yourself into thinking you're having fun.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
March 31, 2008
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.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
March 31, 2008
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.
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Jim Emerson
Chicago Sun-Times
March 28, 2008
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 | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
March 28, 2008
A movie with an irresistible premise that ultimately collapses around the whole issue of motivation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
March 28, 2008
Real-life rags-to-riches Vegas scheme makes for glossy if lightweight fun.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 28, 2008
Repetitive, implausible and overlong.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
March 28, 2008
When Spacey and Fishburne really go at each other, 21 finally starts to add up to something.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
March 28, 2008
21 doesn't quite hit the jackpot, but with popcorn it should satisfy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Joanne Kaufman
Wall Street Journal
March 28, 2008
A none-too-winning blend of the unsettling and the unsurprising.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
March 28, 2008
Before sinking into a predictable morality tale, 21 coasts on the superficial thrill of watching casinos take a few hits, but gamblers looking for a how-to lesson on winning in Vegas will be putting their pencils down pretty quickly.
| Original Score: C-
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 28, 2008
This is really Spacey's picture, from the moment he fixes his gaze on Sturgess to the day when he finally, brutally cuts him loose. It's a fun performance, but a quiet one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 28, 2008
The fascinating story of six college students who took Las Vegas for millions gets dealt a bad hand in 21, which turns their true-life saga into a slick, shallow and thoroughly generic caper flick.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
March 28, 2008
There's enough action here to keep you awake, but don't expect to walk away a winner.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 28, 2008
21 is penny-ante entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times
March 28, 2008
When the makers of the blackjack drama 21 stepped up to the table to place their bets, they opted to play it safe.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 28, 2008
Add it up and, in the game that pits your entertainment dollar against entertainment value, know this: The house wins again.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
March 28, 2008
It's disposable, watchable and forgettable filmmaking for would-be easy millionaires.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 28, 2008
The film is about a group of MIT students who used a very smart card-counting system to milk the casinos. But the movie blows off the deeper thrills of its source material to make a tidier, less compelling amorality play.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
March 28, 2008
While you may stick with the film -- it's a slick time-waster -- you never believe it.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 28, 2008
By the time the end credits roll around, you realize nothing's actually been risked. It's the gambling equivalent of Go Fish.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 27, 2008
21 makes for some slick escapist fantasy. Even if, and because, the fantasy has its roots in something real.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
March 27, 2008
Greed is good and comes without a hint of conscience in 21, a feature-length bore about some smarty-pants who take Vegas for a ride.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
March 27, 2008
It's a would-be parable about greed that emptily celebrates it, a drama about gifted people who are one-dimensional voids and, most laughable of all, a story about the giddiness of risk-taking that safely plays everything by the numbers.
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David Germain
Associated Press
March 27, 2008
Lack of originality is where 21 really deals a losing hand.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
March 27, 2008
Under Luketic's flaccid direction, 21 is another two-faced moralistic entertainment that shows us how much fun it is to live large, then punishes its characters for acting out our fantasies.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Kerry Lengel
Arizona Republic
March 27, 2008
It's funny how movies based on real stories can be the most formulaic and predictable.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
March 27, 2008
[Director] Luketic and his screenwriters preserve the excitement and a fair amount of the blackjack strategy -- yet somehow the whole exercise plays like a high-tech John Hughes movie.
| Original Score: 3/6
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 26, 2008
While I'm firm believer in the adage 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,' 21 doesn't spin a good enough yarn to justify all the changes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 26, 2008
21 is built around some standard-issue plot mechanics, but it's still a clever and novel card-sharp thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
March 26, 2008
Numerous inane plot twists and a convenient villain whose behavior defies logic or meaning.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
March 26, 2008
The new blackjack dramedy 21 stands when it should hit, never doubles down and wimps out to the point that it turns a pretty compelling tale into a bust.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
March 25, 2008
A movie that wastes a lot of time and money and really, really shoulda stayed in Vegas.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 20, 2008
Loosely adapted from Ben Mezrich's best-selling Bringing Down the House, the movie stretches facts like taffy but never shirks its responsibility to entertain.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Leydon
Variety
March 10, 2008
shrewdly shuffles together attractive young leads, cagey screen vets and a fantasy-fulfillment scenario in a slickly polished package