TNR’s Preview Review of 21

Earlier this month, Boston Daily got to see 21, the movie based on Ben Mezrich’s bestselling book, Bringing Down the House, which opens nationally tomorrow. We evaluated the film based on how accurately it captured Boston, but didn’t give away much of the plot.

If you’ve seen any of the previews, you probably know all there is to know about 21. The New Republic’s Christopher Orr suspected as much, and wrote a review based solely on the trailer and the cast list on IMDb, and it’s pretty freaking accurate.

Orr doesn’t know it yet, but his point will be very clearly made when he actually sees the entire movie tonight. Since we’ve sat through 21, we thought we’d tell you what Orr got right in his blind review.

Director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) has fun with the intricate mechanics of the card-counting scheme–which, among other improbable elements, features hand signals as subtle as semaphore. . .

Seriously. It’s like the sitcom conceit where one character makes violent throat-slashing motions when someone should stop talking.

Had it set its sights a little lower, 21 might have succeeded as a light but likable diversion. But rather than settle for the easy pleasures of a con movie, it takes itself rather seriously, offering morals and melodrama of thudding obviousness.

That just about sums it up. Well-played, sir.