Runner, Runner Reviews: Should You Run the Other Way?

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In Runner, Runner, when a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him.

Yes … it's an offshore gambling thriller, fans!

While the premise is different and the star power is present - Justin Timberlake and a big, bad Ben Affleck - is the movie, opening this weekend, worth seeing?

Depends who you ask and what you're after.

Unlike the nearly universally positive Gravity reviews, Runner, Runner is more of a mixed bag with critics. Here's a glance at what some of them say ...

"How blandly by-the-numbers is Runner Runner? When it’s time for a hot sex scene with Timberlake’s ambitious Richie Furst and Rebecca (Gemma Arterton), his boss’s luscious second-in-command, the encounter is as charmless and chemistry-free as the wooden banter that has led up to it. I’ve had dentist’s appointments that were sexier. - Boston Globe

"The overriding problem with the direction by Brad Furman is that it lacks a real pulse, a throb of excitement that pulls you into this unsavory world and will accept no resistance. Furman stuffs the screen with luxurious digs, fancy cars, cool boats, private jets and parties loaded with scantily clad women, but there's no undercurrent, no intoxicating hook used to snare the audience, along with Richie, for the ride." - Huffington Post

"The premise seems a little dated, since the poker craze peaked around 2006, and operations like this were shut down in 2011. But the deeper problem is that it feels like a halfhearted bluff and has the stale smell of yesterday’s after-shave." - New York Times

"Timberlake has been good in movies (Black Snake Moan, The Social Network and the upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis are just three examples), but here he takes on the by-the-numbers blandness of his formulaic surroundings. The film might take its name from poker subculture, but it lacks all the urgency, single-mindedness and swiftness that the title implies at its most literal." - Washington Post

"Alas, the pleasures of watching Affleck as Ivan amount only to small scenes and a smart line here or there. The main focus is Timberlake's Richie, who has two disadvantages as a protagonist: He is completely ordinary, and he is not self-determining." - San Francisco Chronicle

"Timberlake has a way of breathing life into even deadened moments. You want to watch him. But like most stars, his acting is better when the plotting is smarter." - L.A. Times

"Be aware, poker fans. Runner, Runner is bluffing." - N.Y. Daily News

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