1 1/2 Stars
Runner Runner has the all variables to form solid entertainment and fails. It squanders the talents of Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck and director Brad Furman. A promising premise and opening quickly give way to a meandering plot and villains who are ordinary when they should have been larger than life. There is nothing original in this warmed over piece constructed out of parts of similar movies.
Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) recruits fellow college students to gamble on an online poker site. Lacking money for tuition Richie decides to stake his entire life savings on a few hands of poker. Within a few hours the computer version of a casino has taken Richie for every last dime. Sensing something is amiss he contacts an analytics team to determine that cheating was in play. So, Richie flys to the company headquarters in Costa Rica to confront billionaire owner Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) and get his tuition money back.
Ivan likes the kid’s moxy and offers him a job working for the company. During which time Richie is contacted by an F.B.I. agent (Anthony Mackie) and threatened by the police captain of Costa Rica. It starts to become clear that this house of cards is soon about to come tumbling down. Richie has to make a decision and either get out or turn on the increasingly untrustworthy Ivan.
Runner Runner feels like the junior varsity version of a Scorsese movie. Thats especially disappointing considering that Furman’s The Lincoln Lawyer felt vibrant and authentic, making my top ten of the year list back in 2011.
Director: Brad Furman
Stars: Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, Ben Affleck