Released by Columbia Pictures on the 28 March 2008, 21 is based on the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. The movie had a budget of $35 million and has grossed $81,159,365. 21 Was directed by Robert Luketic and produced by Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Dana Brunetti and Michael DeLuca and written by Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb. Although there was some controversy surrounding the casting choices, 21 was a success at the box office and became number 1 in the USA and Canada. 21 Has an age restriction of 13 for violence and sex.
21 Centres around Ben Campbell, played by Jim Sturgess, a student at MIT. Ben is accepted into Harvard Medical school but needs $300 000 in order to get in. Even though Ben has excellent grades he still has competition from those also in the running for the Robinson Scholarship which would pay all his fees for medical school.
Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey offers Ben a challenge of solving the Monty Hall problem. Ben is able to solve the problem and is invited to join Micky’s Blackjack team. The students on the team are Choi played by Aaron Yoo, Fisher played by Jacob Pitts, Jill played by Kate Bosworth and Kianna played by Liza Lapira. At first Ben is reluctant to join the team, but is persuaded by Jill. The Blackjack team have a system which involves card counting. The team is split into 2 groups, the one team are the spotters and the others are the players.
The team go to Las Vegas and Ben soon becomes accustomed to the lifestyle. Micky is impressed by his skills, but Fisher is jealous of Ben’s success. Fisher is kicked off the team after an altercation with Ben.
The security chief of the casino Cole Williams played by Lawrence Fishburne notices the team and begins to monitor them. A romance develops between Ben and Jill.
Ben forgets his old friends and becomes estranged when he does not complete his piece of a project. On the next Vegas trip Ben makes a mistake which costs the team $200 000. Micky is upset and demands that Ben pay him back the money he had lost. The three left in the team decide to go out on their own. Micky decides to rat out Ben to Cole. Ben is apprehended by Cole who beats him up, but lets him go with a severe warning.
Ben comes up with a plan to play in Vegas one last time before the casino installs biometric software. The team approaches Micky and persuades him to play as well. The team dons disguises and return to the casino where they win $64 000. Unfortunately, Cole is on to them and they have to run. Micky and Ben go their separate ways, Micky thinks he has the winnings, but when he opens the bag he finds chocolate coins.
As the story unfolds, it is revealed that Cole and Ben had made a deal. Cole would allow Ben one last try at winning in exchange for Micky. Micky is captured by Cole and Ben is forced to return the money.
21 Is set in 2008, but is based on the original MIT teams who were active between 1979 and 1994. There were as many as 80 players on the original team.
21 Has received good ratings and has all the components of a good story, romance, crime and drama.