Runner Runner is the sort of generic crime thriller - stick-figure characters, pointless muddle of plot, people entering and exiting SUVs and Lear jets with a sense of urgency - that feels like it could drag on forever, and drag us down into a purgatory of stupefaction with it.
Justin Timberlake, with his boyish timbre and eyes like lakes, is Richie Furst, a Princeton grad student in trouble with the dean for running an online gambling operation (hey, those tuition costs!). Pretty darn certain that he's been the victim of a swindle, Richie heads for Costa Rica, where Ivan Block (Ben Affleck, broad-shouldering his way through the villainy) runs Midnight Black, a hugely lucrative Internet operation.
Richie confronts Ivan with spreadsheets and algorithms. Ivan is impressed and offers him a job. Gemma Arterton, deploying her best décolletage, is impressed, too, impressing herself on Richie when Ivan, her boss - and lover - isn't looking. OK, maybe he's looking, and maybe Arterton's oh-so-sophisticated Rebecca is in cahoots with him. Or maybe not.
Meanwhile, an FBI guy with dubious jurisdiction - that'd be Anthony Mackie - tries to get Richie to go undercover to expose Block and his $30 billion-a-year gambling scam. Throw in some mind-numbing poker-speak ("runner-runner flush in a hand of Texas Hold 'Em," anyone?) and various goons, thugs, hookers, corrupt Costa Rican government officials, and a pool of hungry crocodiles and you have . . . a mess.