Search the Web
TV Guide News
School & Event Closings Alert
Adair Public Schools
Allen-Bowden Public Schools
Anderson Public Schools
Bradford Christian School
Broken Arrow Public Schools
CAP Early Childhood Ed. Centers
FILM REVIEW: RUNNER RUNNER
By Roger Moore
Tribune Newspapers Critic
1 1/2 stars
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 experience - the screenwriter from ``Rounders - didn'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 plays Richie Furst, a Wall Street dropout 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 gaming kingpin, Ivan Block (Affleck).
Ivan 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's babe (Gemma Arterton).
He has ``everything you ever thought you wanted, when you were 13. And then a rules-bending FBI 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 in which the ``hero narrates his tale so thoroughly that there's little mystery as to what's coming.
It's a static picture about a sexy world that robs that world of sex and pizazz with student-film staging and camera blocking. Actors stalk into a shot, hit their marks, make eye contact and recite (weak) lines. (``You forgot the eternal truth. The house always wins.)
A couple of scenes in this choppy, glumly edited picture work, but they involve ``real gambling, not the online kind, which is uncinematic. There's barely enough gambling slang to dress up the script. Timberlake's best moments come in scenes with Richie's apple-doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree dad (John Heard), who is the very picture of addiction.
As for Affleck's Ivan, you never believe a word he says, not a gesture. This is the sort of acting he did in the sort of movies he made before he started writing and directing his own movies - bad.
Let's hope this was just a quickly forgotten bump in the career paths of our stars. And Furman had better hope Matthew McConaughey someday feels indebted for the launch ``Lincoln Lawyer gave him. This ``Runner goes nowhere. Fast.
MPAA rating: R (for language and some sexual content).
Running time: 1:30.
Cast: Ben Affleck (Ivan Block); Anthony Mackie (Agent Shavers); Justin Timberlake (Richie Furst); Gemma Arterton (Rebecca Shafran).
Credits: Directed by Brad Furman; written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien; produced by Koppelman, Levien, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shamberg, Scott Steindorff and Stacey Sher. A Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation release.
FOX23 Weather Center
Feels Like: 22°
High: 31° | Low: 17°
This site is hosted and managed by
Mobile advertising for this site is available on
Local Ad Buy
Search the Web
FOX News Sunday
This Day In History
Find A Car
FOX23 On Facebook
FOX23 On Twitter
Advertise With Us
Closed Caption Help
KMYT Public File
KOKI Public File
Report A Story
Copyright & Trademark Notice