Kathleen, Kaley, Jeff and I being the rebels that we are, don’t adhere to many of the rules and guidelines set forth by contemporary society however, we are subservient to one particular doctrine. Whenever, the Sundance Kabuki theater releases a new movie in their main theatre, we promptly fire up Jeff’s Chevy Blazer, reserve 4 balcony seats and get prepared to indulge in some cinema and chardonnay. (BTW, who else do you know that owns a Chevy Blazer in Californa?)
Admittedly, I had extremely low expectation for “21” as it looked predictable and completely unambitious. Despite being braced for a thorougly mediocre film experience, “21” still managed to rank as one of the single most terrible movies I have seen in a long time.
1. “21” is based on the best selling book “Bringing Down the House” about an MIT math team that found a way to master Blackjack and kill it in Vegas casinos. I understand that true stories must be embellished to be made more appetizing for the general American public. However, the fact that the main character in the book Jeff Ma who is Asian, was portrayed by a poor man’s combo of Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace is simply disgraceful. One of the members on the team in “21” is Asian but of course he is resembles an extra from the “Fast and the Furious” and is present mostly to be laughed at. I’m surprised his character did not hide in Kate Boswortsh’s luggage like the little dude from “Ocean’s 11” and then karate kick a blackjack dealer. I can handle the fact that no Asian males will ever be represented on an MTV reality show, (actually, I’m glad of this) but it’s apparent that Hollywood has not come far from the days from Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of a Chinese/Japanese man in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, which might be the most single most offensive act of the last 3 centuries.
“Karma’s a bitch Rooney, you’ll expire soon enough!”
2. Worst use of montages EVER. The montage can be very effective, see “Teen Wolf” or “Karate Kid”. The montages in “21” were awful, especially the one where everybody at the Ghost Bar jumps in the air at the same time just for shits and giggles. I don’t hit the club scene up much anymore but if people are now jumping in unison for no reason, my ass is going to be glued even more to the Laz-y-boy recliner. Another nauseating montage was the shopping spree where they the whole MIT crew gets decked out in Prada and wears sunglasses that only Persian clubgoers on Sunset in LA wear in real life.
3. Gratuitous use of sound effects. I didn’t know the Filipino card dealer turning over an “8 of clubs” after asking for “insurance” was worth of a whooshing sound usually reserved for a cheesy action movie directed by Mc G. Additionally, the “21” crew may have been making money hand over foot, but I don’t need scenes of them striding down the Monte Carlo like “G unit”. Trust me, my uncle went to MIT and I love him to death but Bill Gates has a better haircut than him.
4. Furious Styles and Kyser Souze jump the shark. I guess Kevin Spacey is trying to quash the gay rumors by acting in movies that only a straight guy with terrible taste would choose to be involved in. Then again, once you do a movie with Haley Joel Osment, pretty much anything goes. Larry “aka” Furious Styles has also fallen to low depths since he was giving Tre’ fades and bedding every single baby mama west of Crenshaw. There’s a particularly disastrous scene at the end, where Fishbourne struts like he is Karl Lagerfeld striding out to greet Ashley Olsen at some castle in Milan, rather than an old time Vegas thug.
5. “Facial Recognition Software” – This phrase is uttered so many times that it begins to take on a similar presence as that of the threat of nuclear apocalypse in “Dr. Strangelove”. I would try to explain it, but maybe I’ll save that for the movie I hope to one day make about my life, starring one of the actors from “One Tree Hill” of course.