So, Runner Runner dropped like a cinematic pant-load and runner-runnered down the leg of 20th Century Fox. Is it the fault of director Brad Furman? Co-star Ben Affleck? The plot? The dumb title?
I’d say, without question, this failure rests squarely on the shoulders of Justin Randall Timberlake. And, if not, it should.
Because for all of the “next big things” Hollywood bets on, Timberlake is a shockingly bad one.
I get it. He’s very popular, he’s affable as long as you don’t listen to him speak anything but scripted comedic dialogue and he’s certainly attractive. But, this won’t happen. And it’s not a matter of audiences not embracing him in this new realm, and it’s not the residual boy band stink. For once, and this never happens, people don’t want to see Justin Timberlake star in a movie because Justin Timberlake cannot act his way out of a golden fro.
With the exception of three- to five-minute SNL sketches, Justin Timberlake has all the acting skill of Sofia Coppola if she was layered in coat after coat of the freshness of a Massengil kind of day. His charm fades faster than JC Chasez’s solo career. His offensively bad acting jumps on your skull like it’s Jessica Biel on her wedding day.
You and I may enjoy Justin Timberlake. And that’s OK. I enjoy lots of things. I like filing my nails. But if I had to file my nails for 90 minutes or more, I’d be left with a lot of pain and bloody finger stumps. And it might be preferable to watching Justin Timberlake try to act.
So, with that, we attach our wish letter to our hope-balloon, set it free, and hope Justin Timberlake: Dramatic Actor vanishes into the mist like Chris Kirkpatrick. (Side note: Poor Chris Kirkpatrick.)
But, before we call it a day, let’s play a quick game of “Who Will Timberlake Blame for This One?” Because when things do well, he celebrates himself like it’s his quinceañera. “McDonalds’ market share went up 25 percent because I did their jingle. YOU’RE WELCOME, SMALL COMPANY CALLED MCDONADS NO ONE HEARD OF BEFORE I WENT ‘BAH DUH BOP BOP BOP.’” When he appeared on the Grammys a few years back, it was all, “When I did they Grammys, the viewing figures went up 25 percent. Funny, isn’t it?” I mean, I guess, it’s not really funny-ha-ha. But, the Super Bowl thing? JANET JACKSON’S FAULT. His terrible style, including his amazing full-bodu denim situation he wore with Brit-Brit? MANAGEMENT’S FAULT, JT WAS BUT A MARIONETTE. Offensive wedding video? NOT HIS FAULT, HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THE GUY, HE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE.
Will he blame Affleck? I’d love to see him blame Affleck. Especially while he’s jacking up for the Batsuit. I will tell you that he will in no way blame himself and the fact that when that trailer came out and you saw Timberlake attempting to act against Affleck, you saw so clearly how outmatched dude is. Jesus. David Fincher’s crazy editing from The Social Network masked it well enough, but he cannot act. He just can’t. And that’s fine. We can’t all be the specialest flakes in the snowglobe. But, maybe we set our sights just a bit lower. There’s no shame in a CBS sitcom. Well, not a lot at least.