Brilliant middle class boy wants to go to Harvard Med (from MIT). Brilliant boy doesn’t have $300,000. Brilliant boy meets scheming professor-cum-blackjack shark and is recruited into a gang of Las Vegas-on-the-weekends student hustlers (including beautiful girl). Meanwhile, grizzled veteran security man is watching. The road is paved with minor league lust, stock Vegas shots, a dose of bilateral betrayal, and loads of product placement (Hard Rock rocks).
Sure, Briton Jim Sturgess as Ben Campbell projects a good Jake Gyllenhaal manner, and Kevin Spacey (the prof) and Laurence Fishburne (the security thug) are always a treat to watch, but the rest of the action (by “Legally Blond” director Robert Luketic) is tedious, predictable, and flat. Greed is good, we get it. TV could have compressed the story into 40 minutes, another strike against what’s left of thinking man’s Hollywood. Based on a true story, but it doesn’t help.