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"Runner Runner" Review

Runner Runner is one of those movies that isn't bad as much as inconsequentially not very good. Justin Timberlake stars as a Princeton business student who attempts to make his tuition bill - which apparently is $60,000 in one lump due - by playing online poker, only to lose despite the odds. He discovers he was cheated by the site and decides to go to Costa Rica to confront the elusive operator (Ben Affleck) whom he meets rather easily and is immediately ushered into the inner circle of money and more money. Unfortunately, there's an FBI agent (a snappy Anthony Mackie) leaning on him to help bust Affleck, problems with his gambling addict father, the hot woman (Gemma Arterton) he works with who may be Affleck's squeeze, too, and corrupt local officials demanding a bigger cut of the action.

And that's pretty much it and you can probably guess how the major story beats play out. It's a short 90-minutes long and that brevity comes at the expense of anything like deep characterizations, understandable motivations, or logical schemes and counter-schemes. Everything just sort of happens without much impact. Timberlake is OK but I was looking at Affleck with an eye as to how he's going to play Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. (He's definitely got the chin.) There's just not enough there there to get involved with or offended by.

Score: 4/10. Skip it.


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