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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion, 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

21′ presents satisfying action despite improbable storyline

It happens. You go see a movie that you really liked, then go home to find a supposed “film expert” trashed the same flick with a horrible review. Well, some critics probably need a stick removal operation to realize that not every enjoyable film has to be an Oscar contender. Going to the local cinema shouldn’t be a test to measure sophistication or artistry. “21” is quite simply a no-fuss popcorn movie that’s fun to bet on.
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a star student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a guaranteed admission to Harvard medical school, pending his graduation from MIT. There’s just one problem: Harvard’s astronomical tuition and living expenses. Though Ben just got promoted, selling suits for $8 an hour isn’t going to pay for an Ivy League medical degree. After Ben’s one shot at a scholarship turns sour due to his lack of life experience outside the classroom, he is desperate to find a way of making his dream of attending Harvard possible.
After stunning professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) during a linear equations class, Ben is presented with an unorthodox business proposal. A group of students, with the shady professor as their leader, study to perfect simple math and trickery in order to beat the dealer at blackjack. Though counting cards is not illegal, there are certainly risks involved for those who are caught.
If you think the lead character has an unusual accent, you’re right. Sturgess is a Brit playing a young Bostonian and doesn’t exactly nail the eastern American tongue. Despite the hybrid of a Boston-ish accent, Sturgess portrays a character to root for, even in arguably amoral situations. Spacey successfully transitions between the good guy professor and the crooked mastermind of a get-rich-quick scheme. However, Kate Bosworth unconvincingly plays the pretty rocket engineer and doesn’t offer anything other than a few wig changes.
The film’s biggest problem is that it wasn’t the result of pure creativity. “21” is the film adaptation of “Bringing Down the House,” a nonfiction book by Ben Mezrich. Director Robert Luketic took an opportunity to break away from his previous light-hearted comedies like “Monster-in-Law” and “Legally Blonde,” but he didn’t stray far enough from his roots. In a comedy about a ditzy sorority girl who goes to Harvard, a lack of realism is intentional and necessary. But in a story based on real people, such as “21,” some sense of reality could’ve been useful.
Despite opposition from uppity critics, “21” is nothing but enjoyable as long as viewers don’t take it too seriously. Escaping in a theater to imagine that the illogical and unreasonable could be possible can be entertaining, especially for upper level physics or calculus students. It would be nice to think that the basic math from middle school could be 10 times more profitable in a casino than a doctorate in organic chemistry.

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