Justin Timberlake gets a chance to be a leading man in “Runner Runner.” Too bad there is not much of a story here.
Rich Furst (Timberlake) is a smart young man attending Princeton, whose funds are lacking for tuition. He has been dabbling with on-line gaming by selling memberships to his friends for a company in Costa Rica run by a big shot named Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), but he is not making enough to get him through school. Furst impulsively decides to take his life savings of $17,000 and gamble it playing on-line poker in an attempt to secure the future, and of course, loses it all; but something is wrong here. Furst enlist the help of one of his math genius friends and finds out that the plays he made during the game were strategically right, and that his chances of losing the hands that he played were infinitesimally miniscule. Could he have been ripped off?
Furst travels down to Costa Rica in order to meet Black and when he finally does get a shot to meet the reclusive gamer he is sitting in a hot tub. An indifferent Block listens to Furst rip off story and then dismisses him with no recompense. Later Block runs into Furst in his casino and arranges another meeting. This time he tells him he looked into the gaming and that he was ripped off ─ and that not only will return his money, but that he will offer him a job in his casino. Furst ecstatically accepts the offer and begins an education in gaming.
Sound too good to be true ─ it is. Furst begins entertaining clients and he is rolling in doe, but when one of his friends in accounting comes to him and tells him that most of the people on the client list have no money in their accounts he smells a rat. Where is all of the money?
To be honest with you, I didn’t even know the Furst character was Timberlake until I saw the credits. I am used to seeing him in small roles, in which he is quite good, but this was something different for him. He does a decent job of playing the naïve on-line gambling addict, but does anybody really not believe that on-line gaming is rigged. Affleck, who had done a number of very good movies, appears detached. Was this just a vehicle to make some money, or was this just a chance to chill out in beautiful Costa Rica. At best, this a DVD waste some time movie.
My Rating: 2 of 5 Black Jacks.