Parents' Guide to

21

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Breezy Vegas con film fun, with some iffy stuff.

Movie PG-13 2008 123 minutes
21 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 18+

Too much sex

Several scenes with female strippers because the main characters go to strip clubs many times. You can see a stripper's buttocks exposed at least once for an extended scene, and lots of bikinis, sexualized dancing, and behaviors are focused on and other times included in the frame. The main character makes out with one of the other characters in front of a window and the couple can be seen without any clothes on but no explicit nudity is shown. Skip this movie, not worth the sexualized parts.
age 11+

Very good

This was a nice movie to watch. It was very inspiring and emotional. This can and should be used as a tool to inspire kids.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (12 ):

Slick, stylish, and mostly seductive, 21 -- based on Ben Mezrich's nonfiction book Bringing Down the House about MIT student Jeff Ma -- is a treat despite some clunky dialogue and clichéd setups. Just one example: On his 21st birthday, Ben's mother beseeches him to have fun; "You only turn 21 once," she says. Cut to the fork in the road that promises excitement. Later, Jill, in an effort to persuade Ben to join the team, tells him, "You were born for this." And so on.

But true talent masks many ills -- and Sturgess has plenty. Cool and vulnerable in Across the Universe and aptly English in The Other Boleyn Girl, he's credibly earnest and awkward here, but not so much that his Vegas transformations are unbelievable. Spacey, who co-produced the film, gives viewers more of his sneering, snide shtick, but it's effective here. His mentees are a likable bunch -- young, too-clever, and eager to please. And Vegas? The cheese is (mostly gone). Rarely has it looked this fun.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: March 27, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: July 21, 2008
  • Cast: Jim Sturgess , Kate Bosworth , Kevin Spacey
  • Director: Robert Luketic
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Gay actors
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: STEM
  • Run time: 123 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity.
  • Last updated: December 23, 2023

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