Do One and Save Your Time
To get himself through Princeton Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) has taken to online gambling, not only participating himself but working as an affiliate to introduce others to the gambling culture. But when Richie loses big he believes he has been cheated out of his winnings and decides to head down to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) the businessman who owns the site Richie lost his money on. Impressed by the cajones on Richie to confront him Ivan offers the Princeton student a job and promises of wealth although Richie would quite like Ivan's woman, Rebecca (Gemma Arterton), as well. But just as Richie may be about to make it big he finds himself confronted by the FBI who want him to help bring down Ivan. Now the question is how can Richie walk away from this with the money, the woman and not end up looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life for either Ivan of the FBI to be there.
I don't know what it is about Justin Timberlake but he has this persona, this nice guy persona which makes him the sort of guy that you would take home to meet your parents because they would like him. But there is no bad boy edge to his persona and he is unable to bring it to any role he plays so sadly that equates to some bland characters and one of the blandest is Richie Furst in "Runner Runner". And unfortunately for Timberlake when he shares a scene with Ben Affleck that inability to bring that edge is exposed in a big way and it causes major issues for the movie when one scene you have bland and then the next something a little sharper.
But in truth even Ben Affleck bringing charm and menace to the role of Ivan Block can't make "Runner Runner" more than average at best and this is a movie which has gaps in its logic which whilst there to keep it ticking over makes it fall apart when you concentrate on the details/ How can Richie afford to go down to Costa Rica when he has just blown all this money gambling?
On top of that whilst "Runner Runner" has this interesting base idea of the world of online gambling that old chestnut of the FBI wanting to take down a bad guy is, well it is an old chestnut, so familiar it is tedious. But what is worse is that because Timberlake as Richie struggles to command your attention when he starts working to get himself out of things it just doesn't come across as believable. It gets to the point that "Runner Runner" struggles so much to be interesting and entertaining that it becomes close to being background noise.
What this all boils down to is that "Runner Runner" doesn't work and scrapes being average thanks to Ben Affleck. Sadly whilst in the right role Justin Timberlake is entertaining he is wrongly cast in this and lacks the bad boy edge to command your attention like his character needs to do.