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Runner Runner

Runner Runner

In Theatres: 
Oct 04, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 31 Minutes

They say you have no control over the hand you’re dealt and to play with what you have, but sometimes it’s best to simply fold and move on. Runner Runner is one of those films that doesn’t know when to fold. Brad Furman was dealt a losing hand but instead of folding he went all in and lost.

Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is an intelligent student at Princeton University who believes he’s above well, everything. In order to pay for tuition, he decides to gamble his life savings on online poker and when he loses, he believes he’s been cheated out of his money. Once more, he has physical proof of cheating thanks to some fancy math formulas. When he confronts site owner Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) about his corrupt online business, he is offered a lucrative job. Earning the big bucks comes with a price, however, as Richie soon finds himself caught in a criminal conspiracy.

Runner Runner is about as dull a crime thriller as you can get. There is no substance to the film as everything simply falls into place perfectly. When Richie initially loses all his money, he just gets up and travels to Costa Rica to confront one of the most elusive and powerful persons in the country and expects to get his money back. Even his friend Craig tells him how ridiculous it sounds. The crazy thing is that everything goes exactly as planned. He has no difficulty in getting a meeting with Ivan and within a few weeks, is basically his right hand man. The entire film is laid out plainly in front of you. There’s nothing thrilling about it.

The concept of Runner Runner isn’t that horrible, it’s just that nothing about the film is any good. The plot is dull, the acting is mediocre at best, and you’re wondering when it will be over by the 20 minute mark. It’s a shame, too, because it seems like there would be some potential with Timberlake and Affleck, but their performances fall flat. There are some beautiful visuals occasionally, but beauty will only take you so far.

Even the most die-hard of poker fans will have difficulty in finding something about Runner Runner they enjoy. It’s a painfully slow trudge that fails to capture any of the good elements of a crime thriller. Brad Furman was looking for pocket aces but instead got 7-2 offsuit.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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