Written by / 10/07/2013 / No comments / , , , ,

RUNNER RUNNER

year: 2013 cast: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, John Heard, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie rating: ** 
Someone needed to wake up Ben Affleck during the production of RUNNER RUNNER. He’s playing a sinister guy who manipulates, steals, and enjoys his pursuit of what Michael Douglas in WALL STREET considered positive… greed… and yet you’d think he just took a sleeping pill. At least Justin Timberlake has some energy… Too bad the screenwriter was snoozing with Affleck…

RUNNER RUNNER is no WALL STREET but tries very hard to be. Affleck plays slick offshore tycoon Ivan Block, who runs an online gambling website while a particular young man, with homegrown poker skills and a risky determination to lay it all down, gets ripped off, or better put, cheated out of college tuition…
"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"
Justin Timberlake’s Richie Furst attends a high-class university, but with a loser dad and a troubled past, Ivy League he ain’t. So, having nowhere to turn, our put-upon hero ventures to Costa Rica where Ivan Block resides. It’s not ten minutes before both characters meet, way too easily and, like the rest of this rushed thriller, everything falls swiftly into place...

Richie's tempted quickly to the dark side. He learns the ins-and-outs of running the gambling action, shown in flashy montage sequences so influenced by CASINO you’ll anticipate Robert DeNiro and Don Rickles with a cattle prod. Meanwhile, Block comes and goes whenever Richie lands in hot water… by either the local gambling commission, the FBI, or both at the same time. And if the progressively intense diatribes aren’t threatening enough, Block has his own hungry crocodiles for the real nasty business.

The eventual turning-of-the-table occurs much too easily, lacking any sort of creative twist, or a worthy "gotcha" moment… And with our hero so smugly confident in the predictable outcome, you may just yearn to root for the bad guy… But this lethargic devil deserves no sympathy.
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