21 on DVD

21 on DVD. Sometimes the Hollywood “geniuses” can dramatize real world events and turn out a worthwhile product (see Charlie Wilson’s War), but usually they suck the life out of a good story by manipulating events to fit what they think audiences want to see. Such is the case with the fascinating tale of a team of MIT students who used a card counting system to win millions of dollars at casinos. Hollywood’s focus on one desperate, but brilliant, student whose personality changes after finding success and money in Las Vegas may be good drama, but it’s a formula that’s been done so many times before. Struggling, loner boy becomes popular, gets the girl, dumps his loyal friends, and starts lying and behaving like a jerk. Success doesn’t last and popularity fades, but friends take him back and he learns life lessons from the experience (blend the easily forgettable “The New Guy” or “Mean Girls” or “The Princess Diaries” with elements of “Risky Business”). However, if this formula appeals to you, then you might enjoy this story and how the hero deals with the double-crossing professor and the vigilant casino security chief. If you want the real, riveting story of these casino-busting kids, get the “Breaking Vegas” documentary DVD instead.

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