Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Runner Runner (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck's "Runner Runner" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.



Couldn’t they have just re shot one scene in this where Affleck turns to JT and growls “I’m Batman”? Total missed opportunity, if you asked me.
“Runner Runner” stars Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake in a look at the shady world of online gaming and what happens when a young Princeton grad finds himself pulled into the web of an extremely successful offshore gambling company with seemingly no chance of escape. Mr. Timberlake plays the whiz kid in over his head and Mr. Affleck the billionaire playboy who dons a mask each night to protect the streets of Gotham… sorry… couldn’t help it… how bout the billionaire playboy who owns an online gambling empire but may or may not have acquired it nefariously. I think we’re back on track now.
You know, I have a feeling I may like Runner Runner more than most. It checks a lot of the boxes on my list. First Timberlake and Affleck both put in good performances. I mean, they won’t likely get an early wake up call on Oscar nomination morning, but they both capture the personalities of these eventual rivals with workman like expertise. And they are good together too, playing off each other in fun and compelling ways. I’m also a sucker for a good “battle of wits” and the movie has that as well. I’ll go ahead and call it the best thing. The plot is structured in a way where they both get chances to play mind games with each other, revealing just enough information to feel that they are still one step ahead. It also has a fairly strong finish even if you likely see it coming.
And that’s probably the worst thing about the movie, it is really predictable. It’s not as if it draws a straight line to the conclusion, it’s just that the turns or twists it takes never seem to have any kind of surprise to them. This is one of those movies that if you watched the trailer and then wrote down your predictions about how the movie would go, you would almost certainly have all the major plot points covered. Because of this, the movie can also feel a bit drawn out at times allowing your mind to be full of wander instead of wonder.. Even so for me I found it fun enough that I never completely succummed to that boredom.
In the end, Runner Runner is a mediocre movie that despite it’s predictability and stretches of tedium, had some decent performances, and enough life and joy in the mind games for me to bump it up to a B-
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