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Reviews & Ratings for
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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Winner Winner, Thinner Dinner

Author: DKosty123 from United States
23 June 2009

This film has a youthful enthusiasm which is infectious and a young cast that pulls off the infection. It is done Hollywood Flashback style in that it starts after everything happens, goes to back to how it happens and then ends by going back to the beginning.

Overall, sadly, it obviously spent a lot of money in production but tries to simplify things a bit too much. While it is entertaining, it is much too simplified to interest the serious gambler. The appeal here is in telling the story in a light mood, interesting a young audience, and entertaining it. In that sense it succeeds though not on quite the stylish ease that a movie like "The Sting" did. Of course that one was a best picture. This one is not.

AS I have not read the novel, I am not sure what liberties were taken from the true story but my feeling is that the true story here is a better tale than the movie one. That being said, as I put my brain away & look for light fare, this one fills the bill quite nicely. Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, and the rest of the cast do quite fine in going through a not too serious treatment.

I have seen worse, & better films than this one.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Shallow characters and slow paced

Author: Wildislander from United States
31 August 2008

The story never gripped me; there never was a point in the story where I was in suspense or moved emotionally. The plot plodded along with predictability and shallow conversations that left me wishing the movie was over long before the end came. As much as the movie was supposed to deal with counting cards and gambling, there were very few scenes dedicated to it. The transformation of the lead character was predictable. The only bright spot was the actor who played his best friend - he seemed like the only believable character in the film. If the film was supposed to be based on a true story, they should have left some of the Hollywood out so that the story felt a little more authentic. I was not expecting much and I got what I expected.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

boring and forced

Author: biggreddmg from United States
17 April 2008

21 is a well directed and rather interesting story about MIT kids counting cards and making loads of cash. Okay, well the thing that didn't do well is the relationship between the main characters, their chemistry felt very forced and synthetic and it was very boring. Kate moss, or whatever her name was, her attractiveness even felt forced. She's pretty but shes no knock out. It was very repetitive and it dragged on and on with all the thinking of numbers this kid cycled through. It's just not that special a story for the big screen, you can get that kind of entertainment off the show numbers. I'm not saying its not worth seeing, its worth a rental... not the box office it has racked up.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This movie is awful

Author: peterroeder34 ( from Lyngby, Denmark
12 July 2012

I'm a Danish chess, backgammon and card-player, and I must say I am disgusted by this movie. Not only is the drama very boring and uninteresting but the card parts are also very, very bad. It is like those chess and poker movies where they just didn't bother to make it right. It's like they have thought "the audience is not going to know blackjack anyway, so who cares?" However, if you watch this movie to learn something about cards you are going to be very disappointed. Sure, the guy from "Se7en" is great but, come on, Matt Damon got at lot of things right in the movie "Rounders". This movie "21" gets almost nothing right and there is nothing to be learned from it.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not as good as the TV documentary

Author: Bill Peter from Malaysia
23 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this film on DVD because I'd seen a TV documentary on the subject, which was far more interesting than this film. The plot was far too melodramatic, and the romantic sub-plot completely redundant. I'd be interested to know more about the subject and find out which bits were true, and which complete fiction. I'll need to read more, but won't be watching the film again. Oh, and by the way, the relevance of "counting" wasn't explained. How do they use the number to make their bets? I've also commented elsewhere about why they had to hide the money on the first flight. It didn't make any sense. I'm sorry, but this film was a real disappointment.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes I don't understand how people vote

Author: prochazka-2 from Slovakia
16 May 2008

I love Kevin Spacey. I adore his movies, mostly Usual suspects, American Beauty and Life of David Gale. They are full of imaginative, sharp-witted dialogs, acting and scenes.

After reading few reviews on IMDb about "21", I couldn't wait to see this movie. But how deep was my disappointment, I cannot describe.

Poor acting, 1000 cliché scenes, predictable ending and horrible story, this movie cannot get more than 3 of 10.

I can only imagine, what must have Kevin Spacey as professor thought when the director asked him to accept the offer from Ben to come back to become BIG player again. Person he plays with such a high intelligence JUST couldn't behave like this. Never mind, everybody have to pay his bills...

All the movie is bad, please don't watch it at all, its just waste of time.


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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Surf Heard in the Background

Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
15 July 2008

Its a matter of tone. No matter what a film does, it has to take us somewhere. Ideally it goes another place after it has established you, but it has to establish a place, a form, a tone.

MIT is a place worth being taken to. Not the fictitious clowny place of "Good Will Hunting" but the abstract warmth of the infinite corridor. Not the silly notions hinted at in "Beautiful Mnd" but the sexual fulfillment of deep math. Its cinematic. Its valuable. This does not take you there.

Las Vegas is also a valuable tone to set. Unlike that mathematical warren of mind, many, many films have taken us there and given us the lights, motion, unconstrained urges and those that live off all these. Its naturally and simply cinematic. Its cheap, you have to try hard not to take the viewer there. This doesn't take you there.

It takes you nowhere, and to nowhere from there. This isn't just the filmmaker, its the actors. No one is a being. No one establishes.

What's left is looking at the girl, I suppose, and wondering. She was wonderful in a little film called "Blue Crush" that was natural, whole, simple. I wanted to go back to it all through this.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Lucky no. 21!

Author: himaank from India
3 October 2008

According to me, not taking risks in life is the biggest damn risk you can ever take! How can you live without taking risks? You need to take chances and go with your instincts. Taking risk is like living on the edge. Your pulse is pounding like hammer, heart will blow out of your chest anytime and you are sweating like hell. Getting this adrenaline is one hell of an experience. On this same theme, 21 is all about taking chances on your caliber with little planning. It is based on a true story of five MIT students trying their special skills to remember the flow of playing cards and trying it out in the amazing world of Vegas. Beautiful Vegas- The only place in this world where you enjoy only when you're lost! The movie starts with an amazing one long shot introducing Jim Sturgess-the central character. He is in desperate need of money required to study in Harvard. He is trying hard but that's not enough at all. He then joined his professor Kevin Spacey and gang of four students to explore the gambling world of Vegas. Plan is to make a quick fortune with their skills to count cards while playing. How Jim joins this group, gets addicted and finally, comes out of it is what the movie follows. Crisp narration by the director, well thought of script and excellent cinematography is enough to keep you engaging. Though you can predict the outline as what will happen next but the way it is been shot has made this movie an interesting watch. Jim as the main lead has done full justice to his role and so do Kevin Spacey. The supporting crew including Jim's friends and four students as partners in crime is worth watching. Laurence fishburne too looks so real in his character. In a good movie, every character is assigned to bring out specific emotions and feel like love, fear, etc. In 21, each character is for specific feelings. You can relate feeling of fear, love, betrayal, anger, affection, confusion and etc with each character.

Another best thing about this movie is the climax. I think the director knew that his audience is smart and they can easily predict what will be coming in the end. This is where director uses an interesting twist which excites the viewers and surprise them. In 21, my favourite scene is not one but various close-up shots of actors playing at tables in the casino. Brilliance of great camera work. Movie doesn't have punchy dialogues which I think is an deliberate attempt. Characters could've had become loud and over acted with heavy dialogues which is not at all required here. Characters in this movie have deliberately been kept low and close to reality. 21 gives a fresh feeling with its gripping script, focused narration and great star cast. And that's the reason why I thoroughly enjoyed the new hit formula of movie making called 21.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Give 21 a 2.1

Author: gosh07 from United States
1 April 2008

21 had so much potential to be an action packed entertaining film, yet it felt short in it's direction and screenplay. It is filled with cheesy one-liners that beg all to obviously for the laugh. The movie is slow to build up while it drones on with boring useless detail and dialog filled with one cliché after another. It also isn't true to the actual events of which they attempt to depict. The documentary isn't all that good, but at least they don't try to come off as exciting and riveting. This movie is a perfect example of how a poorly written script and a bad direction can ruin great potential for acting, as in the case of Kevin Spacey. Also as an emerging star, Jim Sturgess isn't given a chance to show his ability through his rather static and boring character. The only saving grace and part that made me not get up and leave was the character of Laurence Fishburne. Watching him beat the crap out of people really is entertaining. To save 8 bucks and two hours read a synopsis of 21. It'll be shorter more interesting and more entertaining.

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12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Dull, Dumb, Disappointing

Author: penfever from United States
9 April 2008

I won't touch on the fact that an Asian is being played by Jim Sturgess.

I won't touch on Spacey's offhand comment that there's no way women could handle high-stakes gambling.

I won't explore the ramifications of the UTTER lack of chemistry between Sturgess and Bosworth. I will, however, quote Bosworth herself, saying that they both had to get dead drunk before their half-minute romantic exchange.

But I will say that montages are not an acceptable substitute for storytelling, nerds don't argue about "rounding errors" when they mathematically rate girls' attractiveness, and movies that purport to be based on true stories should NEVER mangle the facts the way 21 does.

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