This undated image provided by 20th Century Fox shows actors Ben Affleck, right, and Justin Timberlake during a scene from the film "Runner, Runner." The American Gambling Association has bought ads on major websites framing the movie as a cautionary tale that underscores the need for Congress to legalize online poker. The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation, a national nonprofit, sent a letter to the casino lobby Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, calling the ads misleading and demanding that they be taken down. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)
Movie review: High rollers and lowlifes in shallow ‘Runner Runner’
By Sean P. Means
| The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Oct 03 2013 03:15 pm • Last Updated Oct 07 2013 01:30 pm
The crime thriller "Runner Runner" tries to wallow in its unsavory element and be smarter than everyone in that element, and fails at both.
Justin Timberlake plays Richie Furst, a Princeton grad student who gets into online gambling and loses his shirt in what turns out to be a rigged Internet poker site. Richie goes to Costa Rica to confront the site’s billionaire founder, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), and ends up working for Block — and becoming a new target for an FBI agent (Anthony Mackie) trying to get evidence of Block’s crimes.
Opens Friday, Oct. 4, at theaters everywhere; rated R for language and sexual content; 91 minutes.
The script isn’t as sharp or twisty as it needs to be, and director Brad Furman ("The Lincoln Lawyer") is more concerned with surface details — from Gemma Arterton’s sprayed-on tan to putting Timberlake’s contractually obligated brand of beer in his hand — than on smart storytelling.
Affleck is subtly menacing as the avaricious villain, and his walk on the dark side bodes well for anyone worried that he’d be a bad Batman.
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