Runner Runner
Ok, so let me get this straight, Justin Timberlake is a poker hotshot and math whiz (I surmised this with the trailer’s classic: protagonist surrounded by equations), a master gambler, who also just happens to not have enough money for college tuition. He goes busto online with all of his bros watching (because that’s what people in college do, watch their friends grind three tables online on a Saturday night). He analyzes the data, sees he’s been cheated, flies to Costa Rica, meets the CEO of the poker website, talks his way into a job with said site, gets a cool boat, bangs a bunch of hotties and becomes a snitch for the FBI. You know, just like all those Phil Ivey wannabes out there.

This movie was probably meant for a few years ago when people could actually play poker online, before the government shut it down. And on paper the flick should be a slam dunk (You thought I was going poker-speak there didn’t you?). Ben Affleck as a spray-tanned, smarmy villain, stealing money from the millions of n00bs out there playing poker. Affleck’s recent history would suggest that he alone should carry the film, but he’s really in his wheelhouse when he’s in full control as director (Argo-96%, The Town-94%). Here he’s not and is playing second fiddle to Justin Timberlake, a good actor but who, like Affleck in his early leading-man career, appears exposed when faced with too much camera time. Consider movies like In Time (36%) as opposed to his Sean Parker turn in The Social Network (96%), his young scout role in Trouble with the Curve (52%), and pretty much every Saturday Night Live sketch and digital short he’s ever done. Timberlake, for now, benefits from quick hits on the screen.

Finally, director Brad Furman’s resume would suggest another crime thriller win after helming The Lincoln Lawyer (83%) and The Take (85%). But early reviews have Runner Runner (23%) as a by-the-books, ho-hum flick heavily formulaic and light on any actual new, unexplored territory. It’s disappointing considering the players, but I’m sure critics are chomping at the bit, dusting off their old poker cliches to use in the reviews. They can’t wait to go all-in, push their chips to the middle, on a movie that wants to be Aces, but instead tilted off its big stack when it should have folded. See how easy that is? The Rotten Watch for Runner Runner is 27%

Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?

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