'21' Critic Reviews

88%
MovieWeb:   14 reviews
36%
Rotten Tomatoes:   166 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    67
    21 is built around some standard-issue plot mechanics, but it's still a clever and novel card-sharp thriller.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    30
    Greed is good and comes without a hint of conscience in 21, a feature-length bore about some smarty-pants who take Vegas for a ride.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    40
    As ever with gambling films, it's difficult to convey the thrill of winning at second hand; the human-interest complications are unconvincing and Spacey himself, I'm afraid, is a lugubrious and deadening presence.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    50
    Repetitive, implausible and overlong.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Desson Thomson Washington Post (Top Critic)
    It's a would-be parable about greed that emptily celebrates it, a drama about gifted people who are one-dimensional voids and, most laughable of all, a story about the giddiness of risk-taking that safely plays everything by the numbers.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    38
    By the time the end credits roll around, you realize nothing's actually been risked. It's the gambling equivalent of Go Fish.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Robert Wilonsky Village Voice (Top Critic)
    A movie that wastes a lot of time and money and really, really shoulda stayed in Vegas.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    50
    There's enough action here to keep you awake, but don't expect to walk away a winner.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Joanne Kaufman Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    A none-too-winning blend of the unsettling and the unsurprising.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    50
    The film is about a group of MIT students who used a very smart card-counting system to milk the casinos. But the movie blows off the deeper thrills of its source material to make a tidier, less compelling amorality play.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Jim Emerson Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    38
    Inspired by the real-life story of the M.I.T. students who took Las Vegas casinos for millions, 21 has been reshaped to fit a simple movie template -- and it's nearly as much fun as watching an insurance professional compute actuarial tables.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    50
    While you may stick with the film -- it's a slick time-waster -- you never believe it.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    The students are so blandly written this never builds any suspense, though it probably has some value as an empowerment fantasy for debt-ridden collegians.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    21 makes for some slick escapist fantasy. Even if, and because, the fantasy has its roots in something real.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    38
    21 is penny-ante entertainment.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    50
    It's disposable, watchable and forgettable filmmaking for would-be easy millionaires.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Kerry Lengel Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    40
    It's funny how movies based on real stories can be the most formulaic and predictable.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Joe Leydon Variety (Top Critic)
    shrewdly shuffles together attractive young leads, cagey screen vets and a fantasy-fulfillment scenario in a slickly polished package
    Full Review » 7 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    50
    The fascinating story of six college students who took Las Vegas for millions gets dealt a bad hand in 21, which turns their true-life saga into a slick, shallow and thoroughly generic caper flick.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    40
    The new blackjack dramedy 21 stands when it should hit, never doubles down and wimps out to the point that it turns a pretty compelling tale into a bust.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    63
    When Spacey and Fishburne really go at each other, 21 finally starts to add up to something.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Rick Groen Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    50
    Add it up and, in the game that pits your entertainment dollar against entertainment value, know this: The house wins again.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Stephanie Zacharek Salon.com (Top Critic)
    Numerous inane plot twists and a convenient villain whose behavior defies logic or meaning.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • James Berardinelli ReelViews (Top Critic)
    50
    While I'm firm believer in the adage 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,' 21 doesn't spin a good enough yarn to justify all the changes.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • John DeFore Hollywood Reporter (Top Critic)
    Real-life rags-to-riches Vegas scheme makes for glossy if lightweight fun.
    Full Review » 6 years ago