Runner Runner Review Review

Posted: October 7, 2013 in Movies

Runner RunnerEarlier today I was watching cartoons (yes, I’m 30) and this Bugs Bunny episode came on. The weather wasn’t the greatest today so after I was done learning a number of valuable lessons from Bugs, I decided (and was probably influenced) to go and see the new movie Runner Runner with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake (by the way, the lessons I learned from Bugs Bunny include: never tell police EXACTLY how fast you were going and never, under any circumstances, try to race a turtle with a jetpack…it won’t end well).

Before I headed out the door to a cold n’ rainy day to take in a show, I decided to check out how well the movie was doing on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes; both are fairly reliable sources. When I saw the Rotten Tomatoes score of 8%, I originally thought “well, more people just need to see it and bring the score up.” Then I saw the IMDb score and, well, um, yeah…but what do the critics know? I’ll still go and see this for myself.

The overall story seemed a little odd: an ivy league Masters student (Timberlake) loses everything, runs his losses through the computers at Princeton to see what the percentage would be like for him to lose that way (SPOILER: it’s VERY HIGHLY unlikely), somehow has enough cash to fly from New Jersey to Costa Rica and confront the organizer of the online gambling site (Affleck), gets paid back in full AND some for his troubles but decides to stick it out in Costa Rica, work alongside the guy who swindled him originally and all that happens before the feds get involved and chaos ensues. Wow.

Now, before I go too much into detail, let’s talk about some of the positives that this movie has to offer:

*thinking*

Home Alone dad plays a deadbeat gambler instead of a deadbeat alcoholic like in Sharknado! No? Hmm…

*thinking*

Costa Rica looks like a fun place to visit if you hit up a licenced casino and then stay at a luxury hotel! (Look out, Costa Rican Travel and Tourism! I’m coming to work for you!)

Okay, there are a lot of issues with the movie and a bulk of them can be found in just what I’ve written outlining the plot (by the way, what I wrote took them 20 minutes to explain in the movie). I will give Affleck credit for the fact that he didn’t mail it in; he did try to act the part of an online gambling tycoon in Ivan Block. His issue was he probably got sold the part like this:

Agent: “Hey, Ben. We’ve got this great part in a movie where you’re an online gambling tycoon…”
Ben: “Yeah, I don’t think so. I’m trying to focus on this new part I want to get; I’d be working with David Fincher and…”
Agent: “Well, in this one you’d be working with Justin Timberlake AND filming it in a tropical location!”
Ben: “Oh! No way! J.T.?! Man, he has some serious swagger! Okay. I’m in.”
Agent: “Perfect! I’ll send over the paperwork. Oh, also, I forgot to mention this to you earlier. You’ve been considered to be the next Batman! It’s yours for the taking.”
Ben: “Well, if you think it’s the right career choice for me…you think people forgotten all about Daredevil?”
Agent: “Absolutely.”

Aside from the bad advice, I don’t think anybody (including Affleck) could’ve seen the performance that Timberlake brought to the table coming. His portrayal of Richie Furst (the Ivy League Scholar/gambler who lost it all) with zero emotion was pretty much the reason why this movie felt longer than it needed to. Not to hate on JT, but it felt like the only time there was any emotion from him was when he had to try and match Affleck’s level on the pier late at night (if you see the movie, I’ll just say “chicken fat” and you’ll know what I’m talking about).

The movie felt like one long (very long) PSA for anti-online-gambling and just needed the NBC star to flash across the screen at the end. Like I said earlier, the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are a little harsh; it’s not great but not exactly an 8% movie. However, if you don’t want to sit through JT showing everything he learned from the Tara Reid’s School of Acting, watch Rounders for the gambling, The Rum Diary for the “tropical-location-with-a-love-triangle”, and Two for the Money for the “taking-someone-under-his-wing-only-to-exploit-him-and-then-leave-him-like-he’s-yesterday’s-garbage”. The movie didn’t drag on, but did has little action and will not deter anyone from gambling (I know; I checked my phone multiple times and then slammed it down when I realized that the Patriots didn’t cover…but I don’t have a problem).

Thanks for reading and stay connected with me on Twitter: @ChrisFudali.

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