I have some troubles finding places open today on Easter Sunday, and the Runner Runner movie has high hopes but ultimately flops.

Easter troubles

It’s Easter Sunday today and guess what that means – nothing is open! This is well and good for religious people, or for others that want to pig out on chocolate trappings, but for me thoughts tend to go to the Egyptian origins of Easter what with the boiled coloured eggs, and the fertility rites of pagan times celebrated in spring after the vernal equinox.

But the thing that most concerns me today is that I won’t be able to get protective sleeves from Comics Compulsion and apply them to some game cards that I had brought along today. Still, I should be able to take care of that next week when I head out that way too.

Runner Runner

Runner Runner (2013) is the movie that we saw today, and I should have checked out the IMDB score before bringing this along for while the story does crack along at a good pace, it has some issues that make it feel hollow and incomplete.

Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) can barely afford to do his Master’s degree at Princeton University, and gains extra money as middleman between college students and a gambling website. In a last-ditch effort to gain even more money, Richie plays online and finds that his opponent plays a near perfect game. With the stats and details to prove that something shady is going on, he goes down to the websites home base in Costa Rica to give this information personally to Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) who runs a debauched lifestyle down there. Ivan realises that some programmers had put in a back door and could see opponents cards, and knowing  talent when he sees it he recruits Richie.

Throughout all of this Richie does everything right, for example when the FBI take him and want to use him for inside news, he immediately tells Ivan who helps to educate him about the situation.

Eventually though it ends up being a Ponzie scheme, and as Richie proves himself Ivan gives more and more of the business over to Richie, until eventually Ivan plans to escape notice of the authorities leaving Richie to take all of the blame.

The thing is that we’ve all seen this sort of movie before, the best one being Wall Street (1987) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)  was also brilliant in its own way with Alec Baldwin, and more recently Boiler Room (2000) brought us Ben Affleck in a similar stock broker story as in Wall Street. Now granted, it’s nearly 30 years since Wall Street and about 15 since Boiler Room, but those ones rating at 7+ were done much better than this current one that puts a poker website veneer on top, but only scores just 5.6 on IMDB.

There are good reasons for it being so low too. It had the bones of being a great movie, but too much time was spent on the two leads, and not enough time was left to focus on other things. The female lead does nothing other than shuttle back and forth between them. And, for a story that should be crackling with tension, at several great opportunities for this to be built throughout the story it instead just falls flat.