The Justice Department crackdown on illegal online poker hasn’t stopped the game from airing regularly on ESPN or generating billions of dollars. And that popularity occasionally translates into films about the allure of amassing and squandering massive fortunes through shady gambling. Runner Runner is the latest, with Justin Timberlake as the gifted Princeton grad student who make his money playing poker but gets cheated by a computer scam, then seeks out the man responsible. Ben Schwartz admonishes him, saying, “You’re about to jet off to a country you’ve never been to, with a language you do not speak,” but instead of being just another college kid studying abroad, he’s seeking out a gambling ring under investigation by the FBI and getting caught up in the money, the girls, and the luxury. It’s Rounders meets 21 in Costa Rica with Ben Affleck as the moustache-twirling gambling tycoon, a minor-league Bond villain running an online poker scam from international waters while acting like a don.
Runner Runner opens in Chicago on October 4, but we’ve got 25 admit-two passes to an early screening on Tuesday, October 1st [NOTE: Screening has been changed to Wednesday, October 2nd] at the Showplace Icon. Just follow this link to Gofobo and enter the code AVCLUB5BH5 to enter for your chance to snag tickets. Winners will be notified by September 26. Watch the trailer and read a synopsis below.
Princeton grad student Richie (Justin Timberlake), believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Richie is seduced by Block’s promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.