Film Title: 21
Released by: Sony
Tomatometer: 37% (as of Mar. 28, 2008)
Respected Critics Say:
“It has some decent eye candy, but overall this film is bluffing if they think it’s a great, intelligent blackjack film. I know I just used a poker term, but I doubt 21 would have noticed.” – Jeff Bayer, Daily Herald (IL)
“None of the main stars is remotely convincing as a smart person..” – Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
“For high-stakes drama, stick with The Price is Right.” – Matt Pais, Metromix.com
What I Said:
"You have a director so inept that he doesn’t even understand what genre he’s working within and he’s helped destroy potentially one of the most riveting and important social statements about Las Vegas the movies could have seen." – Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
What Peter Travers Said:
“Odds are you’re going to like this lively spin on the true story of six MIT mathletes who broke the Vegas Bank. It’s a kick to watch Kevin Spacey and a gifted young cast use smarts to deal audiences a winning hand.” - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
And thus begins the annual Travers surge into Spring, where his seemingly dormant self that’s provided hope we won’t see his name plastered on every major release, awakens to push himself into the national consciousness as a film critic that matters. If you can find five reviews for the movie 21 that doesn’t feature some sort of blackjack lingo in the positive or negative, your luck suggests you should maybe be headed to Vegas this weekend. (And I’m as guilty of it as the next.) But can you really take that quote from him as enticement to see one of the worst films of the year? In the spirit of his hamminess, trust me on this one and take the insurance. Don’t double down and if someone suggests 21 at the theater this weekend, HIT them hard and split.
Travers is also touting Stop-Loss (currently 58% at RT) this weekend as "the first major movie of the year that touches greatness." That despite calling Charlie Bartlett "a winner", George Romero "a master" and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days "a masterwork." He is joined on the ads by reigning whore of the year Shawn Edwards calling it "honest and brave" and a huge surprise appearance by none other than Bryan Erdy. If you don’t remember his name, then you haven’t been paying much attention to Disney ads because they have been his lock stock for years. No other studio has had the services of Erdy under our watch. Until now. "Provocative. A Wake-up call for America!" says Erdy. And what a self-statement that is. If you go back a few weeks to when Disney was touting its Martin Lawrence/Raven Symone auteur piece, College Road Trip, you would have seen the following words plastered across the screen:
"One fun ride." "Hilarious." "Heartwarming." "The first must see comedy of 2008."
Just those words. Who knows where they came from? No names were there to claim them. It’s almost as if someone at the studio just made those up for our expense. I suppose if David Manning is shouting praise in a forest and no one hears him then he doesn’t exist. Or something like that. But wait a moment, HERE COMES BRYAN ERDY TO SAVE THE DAY!!! "Hysterically funny! This is the perfect family movie." Not quite what the Disney folk had hoped for in their ads, but those words will do. And Erdy was happy to have his name. If you would like to drop Bryan a note and give him a wake-up call to what an inauthentic douchetool he is, check out his MySpace page and tell him how hysterically funny you think his career is.