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"21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1,679 ( 308)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ben
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Cam
Helen Carey ...
Jack Gilpin ...
Donna Lows ...
Planet Hollywood Dealer
Butch Williams ...
Planet Hollywood Dealer
Ben Campbell ...
Planet Hollywood Dealer Jeff (as Jeffrey Ma)
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Storyline

Ben Campbell is a young, highly intelligent, student at M.I.T. in Boston who strives to succeed. Wanting a scholarship to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the desire to become a doctor, Ben learns that he cannot afford the $300,000 for the four to five years of schooling as he comes from a poor, working-class background. But one evening, Ben is introduced by his unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa into a small but secretive club of five. Students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, who are being trained by Professor Rosa of the skill of card counting at blackjack. Intrigued by the desire to make money, Ben joins his new friends on secret weekend trips to Las Vegas where, using their skills of code talk and hand signals, they have Ben make hundreds of thousands of dollars in winning blackjack at casino after casino. Ben only wants to make enough money for the tuition to Harvard and then back out. But as fellow card counter, Jill Taylor, predicts, Ben becomes corrupted by greed ... Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They proved the Vegas Blackjack System was beatable...by beating the hell out of it. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 March 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

21 - The Movie  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,105,943 (USA) (28 March 2008)

Gross:

£5,430,673 (UK) (16 May 2008)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "2.09" robotics competition shown in the movie is based on the actual "6.270" programming competition at M.I.T. See more »

Goofs

When Miles shows Ben the source code of the robot, Ben looks at them and immediately says this is very good. Actually, even a highly experienced programmer could not understand a source code just by looking at it for 2 seconds, especially the code of a really complex system such as this robot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben Campbell: [narrating] 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner.' Those words had been dancing around my head all night. I mean, it's Vegas lore, that phrase. Just ask any of the old-time pit bosses, they'll know. It was a Chinese dealer at Binion's who was first credited with the line. He would shout it every time he dealt blackjack. That was over 40 years ago, and the words still catch. 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner.' Yeah, try it. I had heard it at least 14 times that night. I couldn't lose. First...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Basic Strategy: A Complete Film Journal (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Rito a Los Angeles
Written by Carlos Pes (as Carlo Pes) and Peppino De Luca (as Giuseppe De Luca)
Conducted by Gianfranco Plenizio
Courtesy of C.A.M. S.r.l.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
21, that's how many minutes it will take until you walk out.
8 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If there were ever an award for a film so committed at making gambling seem so unbearably dull then it would go to 21.It plays like a cross between "The O.C" and "Lucky You" on anit-depressant. Its cast are barely noticeable providing solid but forgettable performances. Instead of going all out 21 plays it really safe meaning there isn't much progressing at all. This is an absolute waste of money for anybody who isn't committed to sit through two hours of absolute nothing. It even manages to make gambling boring.

Our lead man, Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) puts up with a dry uninteresting script and tries to make something out of it. Its only real attraction ho0wever are Laurence Fishburne and Kevin Spacey who if you ask me can do a hell of a lot better than this. Its beautifully shot with some spectacular cinematography but like a lot of 2008 outings 21 is a good looking dud that pilots down the runway but never takes off.

Director Robert Luketic adapts Ben Mezrich's best-seller Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions to tell the true-life tale of six genius students who used their brains to beat considerable odds.

Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) may be shy, but his wallflower reputation betrays his inner brilliance. As smart as Ben may be, however, if he can't pay his his tuition he'll be kicked out of M.I.T. Fortunately, the answer to all of Ben's problems is right there in the cards.

Recruited to join a team of extremely gifted students who have used their mastery of numbers to beat the odds at blackjack, Ben procures a fake identity in order to join the casino scammers and their brilliant leader -- eccentric math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) -- in some highly profitable weekend excursions to Las Vegas. Counting cards isn't illegal, and by using a complex series of signals, this team has cracked the code.

Of course, it doesn't take long for Ben to become seduced by the glamorous Las Vegas lifestyle, and the attention afforded to him by his sexy teammate teammate Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth) finds him pushing his luck to the absolute limits. Laurence Fishburne stars as Cole Williams, the Sin City security chief who catches on to the group and makes it his mission to expose their lucrative blackjack scam.

There isn't much more for me to say only that even if the plot synopsis might excite you really don't bother with it. Its 30 minutes too long, and even at that its one of the dullest outing of 2008. Avoid at all costs.

My Final Verdict? Is that 21 is a poor adaption of Ben Mezrich's best seller and if you're looking for a good gambling film your best off stick to Oceans 11 starring George Clooney. A film that isn't afraid to take chances and that actually manages a few smiles.


10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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