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with Jesus

21 (2008)21 (2008)

This film is "inspired by" a true story told in the book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions (2003). In real life, the MIT Blackjack Team devised a complex scheme of card-counting, disguises, and hand signals to win four million dollars in Vegas before the heavy hand of casino security gave them the boot. This film follows that outline, but it's a pale imitation of a genuinely interesting tale of greed, intellect, and emotion. Kevin Spacey stars as the MIT professor Micky Rosa who bullies, badgers, and betrays his six students in venial Vegas. The dialogue is horrible and at points entirely predictable. There's no character development. The sub-plots about friendship and parents hold little interest. The plot does take some unexpected twists, but even this resolves in a cheesy ending. It's quite a feat to make a boring movie about the glitz and glamour of Vegas gambling. Skip the film, and read the book.

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