"I'll be happy to tell my boss that you are not happy."
If what you are looking for is an action thriller that doesn't thrill or have any action scenes then Runner Runner is the film for you. If you are looking for a one dimensional attractive cast with no character depth whatsoever, then Runner Runner is the film for you: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, and Gemma Arterton all look extremely good in this film as long as you don't listen to what they are saying. Ten minutes into this movie you realize that Runner Runner has nothing new to say and the characters are so unremarkable that you forget who they are before the end of the film. I can't say that the movie was predictable, because I really didn't care what it had to say, and half of the plot elements made little sense. The women in this film were only put there for eye candy, and they had no other purpose. At only 90 minutes the film still feels overlong and it drags because somehow it seems as if you are watching an incomplete film, like if some important scenes were edited out. There is no doubt in my mind that if Ben Affleck directed this movie instead of starring in it this could have been a great film, but he was just in this to cash his check so there was no need to put any effort in this. I was surprised how terrible this film ended up being considering it was directed by Brad Furman who directed the solid The Lincoln Lawyer a couple years ago. The script was written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, but this was nowhere near as good as their first film, The Rounders. Runner Runner is one of the worst films of the year, run away from this mess of a movie.
The plot is pretty simple: Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is a Princeton grad student who has been paying his tuition by getting other students to sign up to online betting sites. After the dean confronts Richie for his actions, he is forced to bet all his money on an online poker game. Convinced he has been cheated on, he decides to travel to Costa Rica in order to confront the mysterious entrepreneur in charge of the gambling site he lost his money on. In Costa Rica, Richie begins making acquaintances and he's invited to a party hosted by the gambling tycoon: Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) by his right hand partner, Rebecca (Gemma Arterton). Here Richie confronts Ivan and instead of sending him off, Ivan invites Richie to work for him in Costa Rica. Seduced by the easy money, Richie accepts the offer and begins living the life he has dreamed of, until he is kidnaped by FBI agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie) and asked to help bring down Ivan, who seems to be running things illegally. This is where the double crossings begin and the film gets all messy.
There is nothing positive I can say about Runner Runner because it is a complete mess with very lackluster performances. There is no denying there is a lot of talent involved here, but somewhere along the way something was lost. Furman proved he could direct a strong and intelligent film in The Lincoln Lawyer, but Runner Runner is nowhere close to what he had achieved in the past. We all know what Ben Affleck is capable of; he just came off with an Oscar for his work in Argo, but in this film his performances was completely uninspired. Gemma Arterton had nothing to work with here, but she accomplished what she was signed up for: looking good on camera. Justin Timberlake couldn't save this film either despite trying to put some effort into his role and trying to look believable. He has done some great work in the past, but this just might be the role that makes him stick to music from now on (or taking secondary roles). Runner Runner is a waste of talent and a waste of time for the audience. You will completely forget about this film the moment you walk out of the theater because there is nothing engaging about it. It doesn't move you or touch you in any way. If fails to draw you in to their world and there is no suspense whatsoever.