WALL Street wizard Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) loses his high-salary job and entire fortune then returns to university to gain his Masters in Finance.
At Princeton, he pays his way as an affiliate for gambling websites, introducing fellow students as new players for a small commission.
When the Dean (Bob Gunton) learns about this enterprise, he threatens Richie with expulsion.
So the risk-taking student transfers his earnings into an account on the Midnight Black poker website and attempts to win his tuition fees. The gamble doesn't pay off and Richie identifies peculiar betting patterns in his losing games, which two classmates (Ben Schwartz, Oliver Cooper) confirm must be the result of insider betting. He travels to the Costa Rican headquarters of Midnight Black and confronts owner Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) and personal assistant Rebecca Shafran (Gemma Arterton) about the irregularities.
Runner Runner is an enjoyable yet lightweight tale of corporate skullduggery, lacking both directorial brio and verbal fireworks.
Director Brad Furman deals himself a potentially winning hand with an attractive cast and gorgeous Puerto Rican locations (standing in for Costa Rica).
Screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien pretend to have a couple of aces up their sleeves as they plunge conflicted, greedy characters into a moral quagmire.
Unfortunately, they're bluffing, because, when the chips are down, Furman's film folds at the key juncture and opts for a neat resolution to all of the backstabbing.