Saturday, March 07, 2009

Movie buff

Saw two more movies this week I thought I'd weigh in on - Definitely, Maybe and 21.

Definitely, Maybe was a fairly inoffensive rom/com starring Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fischer, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, and Kevin Kline. Will Hayes (Reynolds) is getting a divorce. His daughter, Maya (Breslin), begs him to tell her how he and her mother met. After some persuasion, Will complies, telling the story of his love affairs with three different women. (The catch is that Maya must guess which one turned out to be her mother.)

Performances were all fine, though I did feel that the on-screen relationship (and the dailogue) between Reynolds and Breslin left much to be desired. The best parts of the movie were the dramatizations of Will's past. The film slowed down every time we stepped back into the present, at least until the very end of the film.

The only performer who really shined in this film was Fischer. No wonder the girl's a rising star.

21 offers better odds for enjoyment. The film stars Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Jim Sturgiss, and Laurence Fishburne. The movie is based on the true story of a group of MIT students who, with the help of one of their professors, trained themselves to count cards and win big in Vegas.

Ben Campbell (Sturgiss) is brilliant but broke. A star student at MIT, he's worried about how he (and his single mom) will pay for medical school in a year. He's working a job at a men's clothing store, but it doesn't begin to put a dent in what his tuition will cost.

One of his teachers, Mickey Rosa (Spacey), notices Ben's uncanny ability with figures. Mickey invites Ben to join his select group of Vegas card-counters, and then the story really starts to cook. Jill Taylor (Bosworth) is also part of the group, providing a love interest for our young protagonist, and pretty soon, the students and their wayward professor are living high on the hog in Sin City.

But complications ensue, as they always do. A run-in with Cole Williams (Fishburne), a member of the Vegas security set, lines up the characters for a tricky ending.

I really liked this movie. It moved along quickly, the characters were relatable and likable, and Kevin Spacey makes everything that much better. Plus, the story is a good one. What broke college student wouldn't want to use their natural talents to beat the house? Shoot, if I could balance my checkbook without making a subtraction error, I might try it myself!

It's a remarkable tale, and a fun movie to watch. Recommended.

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