’21’ Not Worth The Gamble
This movie tried for a blackjack, and busted instead. Granted, I’m almost a year overdue for a review like this, but I missed it in theaters and only recently bought it on DVD. Big mistake.
After all, it seems like most of the critics really panned this one. It’s not hard to see why, either.
The movie starts you off thinking the gang of MIT kids are part of a secret society that may be a get-rich-quick scheme for a poor but talented college student (a’la “The Skulls”). But they balance that with a stunted drumbeat that “counting cards is not illegal”, as if the main character has doubts.
And then the movie sloshes around like the drinks that keep being poured in Vegas, and the main character’s attitude suddenly seems sour on his old friends just as the female lead’s interest in him seems suddenly more intimate.
But the movie still drags on. Nothing really happening, the scheme and hand signals doesn’t seem all that far-fetched, there are no real consequences (thus the attitudinal shift about half-way in isn’t believable). Only slowly does the plot begin to show a darker side to the counting cards business, with a plot twist that seems unnecessary.
Was the movie meant as a morality tale? Was it meant as an anti-hero movie a’la Ocean’s Eleven?
And don’t get me started on how slow and choppy the movie feels, especially in the beginning. It is set up like you’re watching a long character sketch, like you might find in a chapter or two in a book, before the next sliver of plot moves the story along.
“21” is truly a wasted opportunity. And the only movie since “Flyboys” that I could not even finish watching in one night it was that bad.