The other day a friend of mine that works at an online poker company here in Costa Rica lent me a dvd that he won from a raffle at his office. The movie was “Runner Runner” with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.
This movie is about online gambling where a grad student (Justin Timberlake) who works as an affiliate for a casino lost all his money gambling online and he figured out that he was cheated. Since he couldn’t afford his tuition at Princeton anymore, he decided to go Costa Rica where the online casino is headquartered and talk to the boss (Ben Affleck).
Surprisingly Affleck offered him a job to work at casino. Things look good from the beginning but then everything starts to unravel. People are deceiving each other and without giving too much away, not everything is paradise like it seems to be.
Their tagline: When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur.
Runner Runner – How they Portray Costa Rica
They show Costa Rica as a “Gambling Paradise” where you can buy anything with money, a place where there are no laws, lots of prostitutes and corruption.
When I saw the movie it was funny to see how they showed a different Costa Rica. They actually shot this movie in Puerto Rico so that’s one big difference already.
They relate Costa Rica with cigars (Hollywood still doesn’t understand that Cuba is the country that makes the cigars). It’s not usual seeing a Costa Rican smoke cigars. Some do but not like in the movie where literally every person was.
The accent of the actors that play “Costa Ricans” is terrible. As a Costa Rican and native Spanish speaker, I was surprised they couldn’t find any actors to do a Costa Rican accent at all (Yes Costa Rica does have actors). Instead they had such of a strong Puerto Rican accent that it was hilarious to hear the custom officials “Bienbeeelido a Coosssta Lica!”
I have to admit that I wish that some of the things that show in the movie were real like the roads. I didn’t see one single hole in the pavement, there were street lights everywhere and even nicely painted lines! This is a huge error for the director as everyone knows holes in the roads are a Costa Rica signature.
Anyways I took some screen shots of the movie that I want to compare with the reality to show you. If you live in Costa Rica and know the country you can laugh about it, and if you haven’t been here you can see the reality.
After you see these comparisons, you’ll understand why they lost money with this movie even though they spent $30 million on their budget.
Runner Runner Movie Screenshots
International airport in San Jose
Outside the airport
Let’s see some obvious mistakes
In Costa Rica the new plates start with a series of 3 letters (no vowels allow) and then 3 numbers. In the movie they used numbers and vowels at the beginning and then they used a letter at the end.
The car does have the Riteve sticker (yearly car check up) and it seems that the use of plates is optional because just the main car uses the plates. Oh yeah and there are no holes in the road ! 🙂
I haven´t seen a parking meter for years in Costa Rica and in the movie we have them every where. Also is there anywhere in Costa Rica with that nice of sidewalks and painted parking lines?
Can you imagine a 15 Km/H Speed limit even at a school zone? I think that the director still doesn’t know that Costa Rica uses kilometers because that’s around 9 mph. Normally the speed at a school zone is 40 Km/H.
They didn’t write down on the passport how many days Justin Timberlake can stay. Got the stamp right though!
This one is a critical error. In the movie they keep drinking Imperial beer all the time and you will never see pilsen or rock ice, not even a sign at the bars they visit. But during the whole movie they use the exportation Imperial bottle and there is no bar in Costa Rica that uses this bottle. Why would they need to?
You can tell because the bottle is rounder on the top and there is a label on the back. A normal Imperial bottle beer just has one label on the body and a small one on the top. I got a few hundreds of those in my life so I would know 😉
Some places that I still need to visit in Costa Rica and never knew existed
If someone knows where this is please let me know asap, but according to the movie is in Costa Rica. A 4 lines road.
If I can find this Costa Rica cemetery I want to be buried there.
Where is this marina ???
Take a note of the taxi number. They are supposed to be in Playa Jaco but Justin Timberlake takes a taxi with San José plates and its about a whole 3 minutes ride to get from the SJO airport to Jaco. In real life it takes about 2 hours.
This is my favorite view of Jaco. Now the people from Jaco can be proud to say that Ben Affleck played on their basketball team!
This is a very interesting fact. In the movie you can see the Arenal Volcano from Jaco!
Not everything was that bad. I have to admit that they did a great job with the cops, they look just like the ones we have here. Hehehe look the cops face. Just take out the fakes sideburns and the cigar, add a belly and you have a tico cop.
There are a lot more details that didn’t work in the movie and unfortunately it is a terrible movie. Boring and tried to make Timeberlake’s character too smart with a dry and predictable beginning, middle and ending. Even the critics gave them a 9. Yes a 9 but out of a 100.
Sorry Timberlake, maybe you should go back to making music instead. We hope you enjoy this post as much as we did making it and if you’ve seen this movie or see any misconceptions, feel free to point it out in the comments!
Also if anyone know where those couple places are above we’d love to know!
If you like this article you can like us on FB by clicking below