21: Not a good bet

Disguises, gambling, and hundreds of thousands of dollars pack the movie 21. The twists and turns of the plot include a genius MIT student, Ben (played by Jim Sturgess of Across the Universe), who enters the world of card counting and wins millions.

His own professor, played by Kevin Spacey, introduces him to Las Vegas and Ben begins to invigorate his life with the encouragement of his fellow blackjack player, played by Kate Bosworth. Yet the tension rises and the audience wonders if Ben will ever be caught and lose everything he possesses.

The movie was based on the novel Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich which is based on the true story of six students who really did become experts at counting cards.

The scenes are exciting and thrilling through their witty lines and colorful sets, but it does become exasperating as there are at least three plot twists and the movie continues for over two hours. The story in itself is intriguing at first, but as it lengthens and nothing new or unique happens other than a few monotonous poker games and the tiring interactions of workers behind the scenes at the casino, it becomes the sort of movie that makes people check their watches every few minutes.

There are also numerous flaws within the film that make it a little less believable and realistic. For example, while Ben is riding his bike in the first several scenes, he actually passes the same orange car twice.

21 was a thrilling movie with its many casino chases, but it did not live up to the movie’s hyped up previews. Although it had a few exhilarating casino chases and some amusing dialogue, the movie had too little substance spread over two tedious hours to qualify as a first-rate movie.