Mr. JT, he’s made some interesting choices in his movie career. He started off with Alpha Dog, a forgettable crime thriller drama thing. Then we saw him in In Time, a movie with the most puns per line of dialogue in any Sci Fi movie ever. Then all of the sudden he’s in a best picture nominee playing the Napster guy in The Social Network (doo do DOO doo do DOO). We come full circle with Runner Runner, JT returning to his crime drama roots playing Ritchie, an ex wallstreet financial banker who lost his nut in the recession and now is scraping by in grad school, paying his tuition with his online poker winnings.
Ritchie has a bone to pick with Ivan Block played by Ben Affleck. After an all night poker bender he’s cheated out of his life savings on Ivan Block’s poker site, and he makes it his life mission to get the money back and confront Block in Costa Rica about his transgressions. If this sounds a little implausible it only gets wilder as JT makes his way into Block’s inner circle and is soon given the tasks of running real life casinos in Costa Rica and being Block’s second hand man. The main plot revolves around Ritchie getting deeper and deeper into Block’s operation and finding himself in more precarious situations as Block tasks him with increasingly questionable jobs.
This movie was decidingly just OK. Timberlake has that thing going for him that when you see him act, you only see Timberlake. There’s no real range in any of his performances yet and what you see is a really by the numbers performance. Affleck wasn’t a lot better, he’s pretty one note throughout the movie and thats too bad because he’s worked hard on breaking that stereotype the past few years. From his conflicted nature in The Town to his subtle performance in Argo he’s shown us he can actually act, maybe both of those performances benefitted from him being behind the camera as well. There is a pretty fun stand out performance by Anthony Mackie as the FBI agent Shavers. He plays it over the top almost if he realizes how lifeless the movie is that he’s in so he just goes for it. Tonally it doesn’t even fit with the rest of the movie but was still the most fun I had during the entire show.
I wanted to say Gemma Arterton had a stand outperformance too, but really she was also pretty boring. She does get to wear some rockin dresses and generally does a very good hot girl impression so I’ll give her 3 out of 4 stars for that bit. You can wait for Netflix to watch this one, it wanted to be a cool but was just kinda boring with plot twists getting more and more ridiculous. It starts out with JT running hacker simulations on his poker game which seems kinda cool but then quickly devolves into Affleck feeding people to crocodiles. I wish Runner Runner was funner funner.