This movie, to me, is much like the game on which it's based. For instance, if I wandered into a Jackpot casino, I could probably find entertainment for the night at a blackjack table, but it wouldn't blow my hair back.
Twenty-one-year-old genius Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess, Across the Universe) is nearing graduation from MIT with a pre-med degree when he gets accepted to Harvard Medical School. Too bad tuition will run the penniless student more than $300,000. Before the results of a competitive full-ride scholarship are announced, Ben is recruited into an underground card-counting blackjack group led by one of his professors (Kevin Spacey, Pay It Forward). Though winning big on weekend trips to Vegas seems like easy money, the group discovers it's no sure thing.
This movie feels a little too Hollywood to ever reach any heights, but it's fast paced with some colorful characters so it never really gets boring, either. Sturgess and Spacey aptly play the boyishly naive apprentice and veteran instructor, respectively, while the rest of the Vegas crew, including Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns) and Jacob Pitts (Eurotrip), are rather forgettable. Though he perhaps doesn't come off as hardened as he's supposed to, Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) as a Vegas security guru is a fun treat as well.
If you want a good card sharking picture, go for the Matt Damon/Edward Norton flick Rounders instead. But if you want something new and shiny, this step above a teen hijinks film should get you through a slow rental week.
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