Review: Runner Runner


There are few things worse than a bad movie, but a boring one definitely ranks up there. I’ve probably railed about this before since a decent amount of boring movies crop up, but it’s worth pointing out again. There’s at least something to talk about with a bad movie, a boring movie, like Runner Runner, gives you nothing.

The film is lost in almost every manner from its stars to its plot, and it never really tries to find a way out. Paying for this movie won’t make you angry, but it will give you a chance to catch a solid nap in a nice cool theater.

Runner Runner
Director:  Brad Furman
Rated: R
Release Date: October 4, 2013

Runner Runner - Official Trailer (HD) Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck

There was some hope for Runner Runner. Ben Affleck is indeed awesome, and I’d hoped to see him play a bad guy for a while now. Justin Timberlake is actually more charming than we all want to give him credit for and very attractive. Director Brad Furman mad The Lincoln Lawyer work and the screenwriters wrote Rounders, so they know their gambling. Sometimes the parts just don’t add up.

In Runner Runner Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), a brilliant numbers guy unable to pay his bills to Princeton, decides to gamble to make the money. When he loses he realizes people are cheating on the online poker site he played on so he flies to the Caribbean to tell the sites owner, sketchy millionaire Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) about it. Block offers him a job and a fabulous lifestyle, but of course it’s the world of Internet gambling so it’s not really all up to snuff. As Richie starts falling in love with Block’s old girlfriend/current business partner, Rebecca Shafran (Gemma Arterton), everything starts falling apart in the exact ways you’d expect it to.

Runner Runner‘s screenplay is a joke. Full of plot points that make no sense and lines that are as cumbersome as carrying a well greased walrus, there’s absolutely nothing that works for this film. Even Affleck is trying his harder to make the dull words come to life its a damn struggle. A scene that should have been fantastic involving Block feeding some guys to alligators is weighed down by some of the worst dialog this side of a porn movie. Affleck, admirably, makes some of it actually work by simply playing his part to the hilt, but all you want is for him to be this douche bag in a good movie. 

It also seemed like Brad Furman was trying his hardest to not make the movie suck as well. His direction actually pops for the beginning of the film, and you’re almost fooled into thinking something interesting is going on. By the end of the film, after a whole lot of nothing interesting, much of the spark is gone too. Furman lazily wraps the movie up as it desperately tries to have a clever ending despite the fact that it hadn’t really built up to it.

The movie actually doesn’t build up to anything. It feels like the film goes nowhere for almost the entire running time. Richie and Rachel’s love relationship is especially abrupt as she falls in love with him faster than a Bond girl seeing Bond swoop in in a tux. Mostly we just see pretty people being pretty without a hint of tension or hope of conflict. Nothing happens for a large part of this movie despite everyone in it pretending like it does. 

It’s hard to really finish off this review because I’m quickly forgetting anything that happened in this incredibly forgetful movie. The only true emotion I felt towards it was mild disappointment that sleazy Affleck was wasted on this dreck. Affleck is so sleazy. He should be sleazy in something better.

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.