Tuesday, July 29, 2008

21 (Robert Luketic, 2008) D+

Robert Luketic needs to stick with romantic comedies. Legally Blonde and Monster in Law are both smarter than average rom coms with impressive comedic performances that still make me laugh the 10th time I watch them. 21, Luketic's first foray away from that genre, is an absolutely grotesque, 99 cent version of Ocean's 11 with unavoidable cliches, awful acting and a putrid script. Jim Sturgess (you might recognize him from Across the Universe and The Other Boleyn Girl) plays a freakishly smart MIT student who can't afford his tuition for Harvard Medical School. He meets a professor (Kevin Spacey) who teaches him to play Black Jack and count cards so, along with a couple of other students, they can make an assload of money in Vegas every weekend. Sturgess does his best with the role, but you know the trajectory of his character from the first 30 seconds: he will go from naive, to out of control in about 30 minutes and then will realize his mistakes and redeem himself just in time. The way Kevin Spacey's character chews him out after losing $200,000 is completely ridiculous; this was the only time Sturgess had done this and he completely goes apeshit while the other douchebag (the one who had been kicked out) had apparently done it quite a few more times before getting kicked to the curb for doing something else completely. Instead of Spacey, I would have rather liked to see Robert Downey, Jr. in this role. I think he could have played up the funniness better with his dry wit and he can be quite a bit intimidating if you give him the chance.

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