Movie Review: Runner Runner

Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton

Runner Runner looked like a slick gambling movie based on its trailer, and most of that "coolness" definitely was portrayed on-screen as well. It's a good choice for a matinee, but I wouldn't buy a full-price ticket for it - it's a fun film but definitely a "popcorn movie."

Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is working on his Masters degree in finance at Princeton. The dean calls him into his office to warn him that gambling on campus is illegal - Furst is an affiliate for a gambling site called Midnight Black, where he steers students to the site in exchange for a commission. Richie is in need of $60K in tuition, and since his income has now been cut off, he heads to the site to do some gambling. He loses all of his money, however, and one of his computer-savvy friends finds out that the website actually cheated him. Richie hops on a plane to Costa Rica, where Midnight Black is based, to get a one-on-one with Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), the founder and CEO of the site. He actually does find a way to talk with Block, and Block pays him back his money AND offers him a job there ... with a 7 figure salary the first year and 8 figures for the second.

Ben Affleck was great in this film as the kingpin Ivan Block - a savvy businessman who will stop at nothing to earn money. JT's acting was just okay in this movie, but part of it can be blamed on the script - it was so-so at best. Gemma Arterton is also good as Affleck's character's girlfriend, who is also attracted to JT's character, and Anthony Mackie had a small part as an FBI agent who warns JT to get out before he's blocked entry back to the United States.

Yes, see this movie. It was a fun ride, even though similar films have been done before. You will definitely have to overlook some obvious things to enjoy the film though - i.e., if JT is broke, how does he get the plane money to Costa Rica? (and he says he REALLY wants to earn his Princeton degree - yet when he's offered a job in Costa Rica, it's buh-bye, school? I guess the salary did help ...)

There were also some unexpectedly funny one-liners sprinkled throughout, especially from Mackie's character, that made the movie interesting. Runner Runner is the type of film one can enjoy on a rainy day or at a matinee - don't pay full price for it, but it's an entertaining movie overall.

Runner Runner is in theaters today, October 4th, and is rated R with a runtime of 91 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.

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