Runner Runner Folds on the River

GameStop, Inc.

by R.C. Samo
Editor-in-Chief

 

Runner Runner PosterThere has always been a fascination with gambling in Hollywood, maybe because every picture is based on a good cut. You deal out the cards, you wait for the flop, hope for the turn and count your chips while they are on the table. Unfortunately, Runner Runner is holding pocket aces, but folds on the river card.

The story concept is always fun when David finds a way to take down Goliath, but it was overly-formulated. Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is the down-on-his luck Princeton graduate student who is having trouble paying tuition, while having to be an emotional support for his gambling addict father, Harry (John Heard). After realizing he was cheated, Furst goes down to Costa Rica to confront online casino mogul, Ivan Block (Ben Afleck) who ends up hiring him to be his fall guys, especially after being every idiot in a one of these movies who seduces the boss’ number one girl, Rebecca Safran (Gemma Arterton).

A very basic story that’s been done a million times over and done better in the past. Timberlake and Arterton phone it in. Anthony Mackie was able to work with his one dimensional, flatfoot character FBI Agent Shavers, but there is only so much good actors can do with an OK script. Afleck is at his best when he plays the quintessential villain and his performance does not disappoint. However, Afleck can only imitate Atlas for so long while carrying the weight of this picture on his shoulders.

2oth Century Fox has always done well with this genre and with the name recognition alone, they should be able to make their money back at the box office, but just because you have pocket aces doesn’t mean you have a winning hand.

Runner Runner opens Friday, October 4, 2013. If you plan on seeing it,  enjoy the beautiful cinematography and allow yourself to escape for 91 minutes.

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