Justin Timberlake continues to try and carve a career in Hollywood with a gambling thriller Runner Runner.
The film’s premise is timely and intriguing. However, instead of fleshing this out, it focuses on generic melodramatic twists. Hotshot with daddy issues is taken under the wing of a Machiavellian sleazeball and *Spoiler Alert* gets betrayed.
In fairness, online gambling is not exciting on its own. It’s basically a dude in front of the computer. But Runner Runner is short on creativity. So the movie leans on the generic story about the pitfalls of ambition.
At first, Richie makes his dreams come true. It’s the typical mix of intoxicating success – lavish parties, romance, and easy money.
He eventually discovers that his partner is bad news. The movie proves this by showing Ivan decapitating fishes and feeding his enemies to alligators. Richie lays the groundwork to escape the grip of Ivan, which is completely tension-free, contrived, and predictable.
The male leads deliver bad acting on top of already cringe characters. Onscreen chemistry is nowhere to be found.
Ben Affleck is completely wooden and flat. Justin Timberlake’s range is scrunching his eyebrows. Gemma Arterton is underused and reduced to the love interest. She gets to have a tropical vacation while on the job at least.
In the end none of this matters. Runner Runner is a movie that has no redeeming qualities.
Runner Runner is a run-of-the-mill soap opera masking as a gambling thriller that features Badfleck and confirms that Timberlake can't act.