Directed by Robert Luketic (PG-13)
MIT students attempt their own version of Ocean’s 11.
This riveting true story of six college kids who outwitted Vegas for millions has been “dealt a bad hand with 21,” said Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. This lackluster film, produced by Kevin Spacey, is a loose adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s book Bringing Down the House, which told the story of an MIT math geek who’s been accepted into Harvard Medical School. Lacking the $300,000 tuition, he accepts an offer to count cards in Vegas, realizing it’s “far more lucrative than his job as an assistant manager at J. Crew.” Robert Luketic’s hyperstylized direction frequently buries the genuine thrills found in the book, said Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times. What could’ve been an intriguing tale about “greed and high-stakes betrayal among the young intellectual elite in America’s gaming playground” turns out to be just another slick Vegas movie. Spacey and director Luketic seem afraid to challenge Hollywood convention, said Robert Wilonsky in The Village Voice. While Mezrich took chances with the book and was rewarded with a best-seller, 21 is “about as risky as playing the nickel slots.”