Don’t waste your time (91 minutes) or your $14 going to see Brad Furman’s new Runner Runner. Even the ooglable eye candy of a brainy Justin Timberlake and a devious Ben Affleck can’t make up for the lack of character development in this supposed suspenseful crime drama about Ivan Black (Affleck), an online gambling mogul who recruits Richie Furst (Timberlake), a math-savvy Princeton whiz in need of tuition money, to help hold down his billion-dollar throne in Costa Rica. While it starts out promising–with a skilled cast and an intriguing, though predictable, storyline– it’s potential is wasted on a film that seems to flash by in sudden, brief bursts. Dramatic scenes and plot twists with high thrill potential lack any sort of buildup at all–things just happen–characters fall in love, key characters switch sides, people are kidnapped, and then found, but it all seems to occur off screen. The whole suspenseful and/or moving progression is missing and all the viewers get is the end product with little opportunity to invest in the characters. Even the sexy casino glamour is kept to a minimum (though that’s sometimes a good thing).
Ben Affleck, you chose to follow up your Hollywood triumvirate (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo) with this? Really? I expected better of you. My advice: if you’re in the mood for a glitzy casino thriller, dig through your DVD collection and pull out 21. Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Take) could’ve taken a few tips from director Robert Luketic, and no offense J.T., but Jim Sturgess does you one sexier.