Runner Runner (2013) Directed by Brad Furman. Starring: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, & Gemma Arterton. IMDB says: “When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur.”
When the movie ended and the credits rolled, I wanted two things: A Bud Light Platinum and Justin Timberlake’s new album. The movie is filled with blatant Budweiser product placement and Timberlake’s performance is solid, but it really drove me to listen to his newest album, The 20/20 Experience (which I’m doing as I write this). Overall, the movie is okay. I’m not going to say it was pointless, but it’s a movie that will be cast aside as forgettable.
Richie Furst (Timberlake) is a poor Princeton student who helps online gambling sites by driving traffic to their sites: People sign up, he makes money. He then takes that money, and gambles to pay for his college tuition. One night, he goes to gamble, but realizes he’s been cheated and loses his money. So he ups and flies to Costa Rica to meet with the owner of the site, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). From there, the movie jumps from scene to scene, progressing the story without spending time to develop characters or their relationships. You’re left caring less about what happens to these characters because there is no connection made. Half the time, Gemma Arterton’s character Rebecca feels like she was brought in as eye candy and minor exposition use.
The performances are all tossed together and you’re rushed through a story that feels clichéd at times. The dialogue even feels cliché despite the performances of Timberlake, Affleck, and, highlight of the movie for me, Anthony Mackie. Mackie plays a determined FBI agent who’s bent on arresting Block and enlists the help of Richie. But does he? The movie never establishes that relationship, but Mackie shows up from time to time as if it’s a known thing. It’s confusing at times, but by the time you leave the theater, you’ve already forgotten character names and what happened to them.
The soundtrack is boring but it doesn’t take away from the gorgeous landscapes and beaches of Costa Rica. It’s not like the movie is bad, it just has nothing to offer. It’s okay if you wait to catch this on tv… you’re not missing anything.