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Bettie's Box Office: Runner Runner Review
Updated: Monday, October 7 2013, 01:21 PM CDT
Everybody gambles. Whether it's money or not, if you have something to lose, you're gambling. That's the message at the beginning of Runner Runner, and the movie proves the point.
When a Princeton grad student (Justin Timberlake) loses what's left of his tuition money on an online poker site, he sets out to Costa Rica to confront the site's owner (Ben Affleck) with proof that the games weren't on the up-and-up. He ends up being drawn into the world of big money, beautiful women and corrupt officials.
The problem is the plot never thickens; it stays liquid and shallow (just like the characters). In great organized crime movies, characters manipulate each other. In Runner Runner, it's mostly strong-arming from the kingpin on one side and the Feds on the other. Timberlake turns in a decent performance but Affleck just doesn't cut it for me as the crime boss. Gemma Arterton (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) plays Affleck's long-time cohort and girlfriend who seems a little too willing to throw it all away for the innocent newcomer.
In poker, a “Runner Runner” is a low-probability hand that gets dramatically better as the game goes on. Runner Runner, the movie, is the opposite: it looks promising at the start but just sort of falls apart and makes you feel like you lost your movie money.
Using the Bettie's Box Office rating system, I say do not bet more than a DVD rental price on it. Runner Runner is rated R for language and some sexual content.