'Runner Runner' a gamble on the road to nowhere special
Whatever his other gifts, Justin Timberlake has a hard time playing “hard.”
Ben Affleck has no hint of sinister about him.
For director Brad Furman, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is looking more and more like a fluke, and even bringing in someone with gambling-movie credentials — the scr eenwriter from “Rounders” — doesn't help.
So, the problems of the Internet gambling thriller “Runner Runner” are many and manifest. A thrill-free thriller with no urgency, scanty wit and limited sex appeal, it plays like just a paycheck for A-list actors who should know better.
Timberlake is Richie Furst, a Wall Street dropout whom we meet as he tries to hustle his way to a graduate degree at Princeton. But the online gambling he's using to finance college fails him, and a little number crunching tells him he's been cheated. Somehow, he scrapes together the cash and the moxie to go to Costa Rica and confront the online gambing kingpin, Ivan Block (Affleck).
Block likes that moxie and next thing you know, Richie's his right-hand man, crunching numbers, recruiting “affiliates” to their Internet empire and making eyes at the boss' babe (Gemma Arterton).
He has “everything you ever thought you wanted, when you were 13.” And then a rules-bending F.B.I. agent (Anthony Mackie, funny) kidnaps him and we wonder whose loyalty Richie will honor — Ivan's, the feds' or his own.
“Runner Runner” is the sort of movie where the “hero” narrates his tale so thoroughly that there's little mystery as to what's coming, and there's barely enough gambling slang to dress up the script.
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- DVD reviews: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and ‘The Sacrament’
- DVD reviews: ‘Transcendence,’ ‘Blue Ruin’ and ‘Sabotage’