In "21," Jim Sturgess is hoping his winning hands will help him pay for medical school. He's recruited by a math professor, played by Kevin Spacey, to count cards in Vegas.
But Sturgess can't do it alone so he's part of a team of students who cases casinos, looking for hot tables that are primed for big payouts. Kate Bosworth is the teammate that's he had a crush on for several years. Laurence Fishburne is the eye in the sky who suspects that it's more than good luck that is shining on this high roller. So card after card, chip after chip, night after night, gambling makes him greedy.
"21" is not the jackpot you want it to be. It's more like breaking even. The early scenes are well played, but as the script ups the ante towards the end, some of the plot holes become more obvious. For example, if one is afraid of being caught, why would they keep going to the same casinos?
It takes a long time for the action to reach a conclusion and by that point, the audience has already figured out every hand that is about to be played. The romantic relationship that sprouts here is a bust; it slows the movie down that much more.
The film does have a good sense of humor and a snazzy style which help keep the audience somewhat interested.
And even though the movie is inspired by a true story, there is a feeling that has been changed dramatically to fit Hollywood's idea of what should have happened so odds are, viewers will be a little disappointed.
"21" earns 2 ½ out of four stars.
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