exists in an alternate reality where everybody speaks in gambling metaphors (â€śyou've always got one more card to playâ€ť), hot college students stop midparty to gather excitedly around a computer to watch a dude play online poker for a few hours, and it's possible for a kid with zero dollars in his bank account to hop instantly on a flight to Costa Rica. In this alternate universe, Ben Affleck never matured past his meatheaded douchebag personaâ€”here, he plays a corrupt video-poker tycoon who smirks and lumbers around like the cocky high-school bully he played in Dazed and Confused
, but who somehow never learned anything about acting in the past 20 years. It is a world where Justin Timberlake loses all his considerable charisma despite playing Affleck's protĂ©gĂ©, who is seduced by the glitz and glamor of the apparently super-sexy and enticing world of shady online poker. Itâ€™s a place where the great Anthony Mackie is suddenly the most cookie-cutter FBI agent ever committed to film, despite an excellent rĂ©sumĂ© that includes a stellar turn in The Hurt Locker
. In this alternate reality, mouse clicks and Web searches are supposed to constitute white-knuckle action, and street chases are glossed over as boring. It is not a world worth visiting. Or, to use words its characters might more easily understand: Don't buy into this game. Or play your cards elsewhere. Or...whatever. This movie sucks.