Runner Runner is the type of slick, fast-paced flick that audiences usually always fall. It opens today (Oct. 4) on area screens.
Here’s hoping that they have better taste this time around, despite a cast that includes Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck. No, they’re not great thespians, but they do have the benefit have at least having appeared in entertaining movies.
That’s not the case with the Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) directed film. Sure it’s escapism, but it requires incredible leaps of faith along with a complete suspension of disbelief. The plot holes make it incredibly unlikely that rational movie-goers could actually embrace the film on any level.
That’s not to say Runner Runner – which is filmed from a script by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (who partnered on Ocean’s Thirteen) – doesn’t try. It just fails.
Timberlake portrays Richie, a Princeton MBA major who gets caught promoting Internet gambling on campus and is effectively put on double secret probation. The gambling thing was his primary source of income.
Without it, he can’t get his masters. So he does what any rational person does: he takes his savings and decides to gamble on the site for which he works because, you know, that makes sense.
Of course he gets hustled. If not the movie would have lasted about a half hour and, in the process, make a lot of people happy. Instead, he gets a couple of his math geek buds to analyze his data and they deduce that he was cheated.
That sends him to Costa Rica, gambler’s paradise, where wants to confront the head of his site’s operations – Ivan Block (Affleck) – instead of going to whatever authorities are available to him.
He impresses Block and, of course, he offers him a high-profile gig at the company where he soon learns of corruption, government payoffs and murder. So so surprising.
That’s the primary problem with Runner Runner. There’s nothing new here to chew on. No nuggets. Nothing. The performances are serviceable. The story is not. This is one of those films to digest on a snow-filled Sunday courtesy of Netflix.
Movie: Runner Runner
Director: Brad Furman
Cast: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rated: Rated R (for language and some sexual content.)
Running time: 91 minutes
George’s rating: 2-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com