Bringing Down the House --> 21
(Written by Ben Mezrich)
(Directed byRobert Luketic)
(Project by Mikaila Orofino)


Almost everyone in the world wants to make a exorbitant amount of money as quickly and as easily as possible. Some turn to gambling to earn this money but very few actually achieve this aspiration. The book, Bringing Down the House is about a group of MIT students using strategy to beat Vegas. They form an unbeatable team and bring in excessive amounts of money on a weekly basis. Kevin is a student at MIT and lives with two others- Fisher and Martinez. Fisher and Martinez left every weekend, for the entire weekend, and Kevin became curious as to what they were doing. The men did not have jobs so Kevin could not figure out a way that they could potentially be going on vacation every weekend. When Kevin asked the boys where they were going and they told him that he should come next week and see for himself. They flew toVegas first class. Kevin was now even more perplexed by how they could possibly afford this luxury as they were chauffered to the hotel and given celebrity suites, Kevin learns that Fisher and Martinez are professional card counters. They made around two hundred and fifty tho21_cover.jpegusands dollars each weekend on blackjack and had an "in" with the managers, meaning they would receive anything they desired for free. Kevin was soon trained at MIT to card count and was accepted onto the team as a "spot". Eventually he worked his way up to a "big player". The team was very successful at many casinos; bringing in millions. Although they were professional card counters there was always a threat from the Eyes in the Sky. If anyone was caught card counting they would be thrown out of the casino for cheating and intimidated through physical means, as in punching. Each team member had several aliases to keep there identity secret. As the team grew, money was being made faster than ever before, but this luck did not persist. The team bumped into another MIT blackjack team and told them to leave. Soon after they began getting thrown out and barred at almost every casino they went to. They grew more suspicious as they went to more low key casinos, where no one could ever know their reputation, but they would still be told to leave. Someone was selling lists of everyone on the MIT teams and all there information to all casinos for a large sum of money. Kevin began to have problems with the IRS and Jill and Dylan's (two other members of the team) apartment was broken into. The only person who could be causing the teams so much trouble would be someone who had complete access to their information. Soon Martinez and Fisher begin there own new team taking most of the teams players with them. Kevin was now on his own with his own team and with two options, keep his now small team counting cards or just stop playing blackjack all together.


Bringing Down the House was turned into the movie, 21, and as all other book to movie transformations key parts were changed and removed. However, this one was changed a little too much in my opinion. In the book, Kevin (whose name later changed to Ben in the movie) was a brilliant MIT student and got started in the whole game of blackjack through his roommates who had been consistently going to Vegas for a while. In the movie Ben (Kevin) is accepted into Harvard but does not have the three hundred thousand dollars for the tuition. His non linear equations teacher realized his great math skills and after a while convinced him to try card counting because he would be very good at it and could make a lot of money fast. Also, in the book the team gets kicked out of many casinos and bumps into another MIT team. In 21 only Kevin was barred from one casino and the team was the only team at the casinos. The whole point for Kevin gambling has been changed. Jill's apartment gets broken into and her safe is stolen with all the money she had made in Bringing Down the House but in the movie Kevin's dorm is broken into and all his money is taken. Throughout the movie it seems that Professor Mickey is using the team to make him money while he just enjoys the Vegas atmosphere. Eventually Jill and Ben (Kevin) were able to trick him and keep all the money they made while Mickey was barred in theshdswd.jpege basement of the casino. In the end of the movie, they had to give the pit boss all there chips from that night because he was holding them at gun point so he could retire well although most of the members on the team had enough money to live off. This is very different from the book. In the book, the team splits up but continues playing until they are kicked out of almost every casino. They are left wondering who has gotten all there information and was spreading it through all the casinos throughout the United States.


The movie 21, itself was well made and easy to follow. By removing many characters from the movie it made the movie easier to understand but forced the director have to change how the story went along because there was not enough time to develop these other characters. However it tended to switch setting quickly and often created slight confusion to the viewer. It was expected that some things would be removed because of time constraints. However some they chose to leave out were, i think, important to the story. Compared to the book, it fell short leaving some questions still lingering when it ends. The other characters and incidents in the book helped pull every detail together better. It was at some points confusing to watch the movie. Reading the original book it was supposedly based off , 21 only followed the most basic points of the book (team of MIT students count cards as a team in Vegas and get caught in bad situations with the pit bosses) and did not follow the slightly smaller plots and characters portrayed in the book.

Ultimately I found the book much better composed than the movie. I would recommend to anyone interested in the story of the six MIT students beating Vegas that they should read the book. A book not limited by time but a movie is and many important and intriguing details are unfortunately left out. I felt more connected to the characters in the book because the time was taken to provide detail and develope characters more. Although reading is not every one in the worlds favorite thing to do in this case the extra effort is ultimately worth it. The ending of Bringing Down the House made more sense than than in 21. The movie is slow moving and does not even hit a third of the most important parts of the story. I expected more from the movie such as even more clarification of exactly what happened to the teams in the end but that expectation was not fulfilled.

Trailer of 21~ Trailer 21 or trailer- 21
Full movie~ full movie- 21