“The Accountant”

Of the two Ben Affleck-helmed action flicks this year, I’ll take the non-Batman one. Still not happy between my options.

“The Accountant”stars Affleck as Christian, an accountant with a high-functioning form of autism. While he appears to be an average accountant, he moonlights as an assassin for criminal organizations. This is why the corrupt robotics company CEO (John Lithgow) should regret crossing him.

“The Accountant” is directed by the underrated Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior,” “Miracle”), and he’s a talented filmmaker. He’s a rare genre director, who makes unconventional action movies that are more about drama than the action sequences. The action scenes are spectacular in “The Accountant,” but they don’t top Affleck’s nuanced performance.

Affleck is quiet, expressive, and tragic as Christian. We get a sense of pain in his eyes whenever he’s alone. The backstory behind his character is far fetched, but still intriguing enough. The entire film has a problem between staying gripping and ridiculous.

The psychological study of Christian is the film’s selling point, but we spend more than half the movie focused on his cliched relationship with another accountant (Anna Kendrick). We also have JK Simmons as a seasoned treasury agent from Christian’s past, but all of his scenes are just exposition with no resolution.

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

I admired the unconventional style of “The Accountant” between its twist-filled story, dramatic pacing combined with quick bursts of violence, and its puzzle-like cinematography. But the sloppy final act ruined my liking.

The last twenty minutes is where “The Accountant” completely falls apart. Simmons is introduced as a potential antagonist, but in the end, he’s a redeemed secondary protagonist without development. There’s a predictable twist behind a rival assassin (a wonderfully over-the-top Jon Bernthal) that made the climax anti-climactic. Lastly, the final twist in the end was ludicrous.

If there’s a sequel to “The Accountant,” I’ll see it for clarification. For now, we’re stuck with a miss.

Grade: C+

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“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”

It’s that time of year, folks! The time for the annual R-rated summer comedy. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is this summer’s crowd-pleasing raunch fest.

Adam DeVine and Zac Efron are the titular characters, Mike and Dave, and these two are the guys you don’t want at your party. They arrive, energize the party, and ruin it with their shenanigans. Their parents are fed up and tell them they aren’t invited to their sister’s wedding, unless they bring dates to keep them civilized.

Meet the hot messes, unapologetic mean girl Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and recently single Alice (Anna Kendrick). When they learn of the boys’ dilemma, they pretend to be “respectable as fuck” to get a free Hawaii trip out of the boys. And then of course, the slapstick high-jinx ensue.

SPOILER ALERT (Well, if you consider formulaic spoilers)!

“Mike and Dave” may not be the most refreshing comedy released, but it was a lot better than the trailer let on. The trailer sells us that the boys will figure out the girls’ scheme, the girls will fall for the boys, and in the end, they’ll end up together while growing up. Yep, that’s pretty much it!

However, the four stars have winning chemistry and their comedic timing is occasionally near-perfect. Between DeVine delivering awkward phrases followed with their blunt meanings, Efron parodying the “What’s in the box” scene from “Se7en”, and Plaza  and Kendrick intentionally and unintentionally causing chaos, I was laughing throughout the movie.

The other thing that surprised me about “Mike and Dave” is that the four leads were more human than expected. We see Dave wants to be more independent, Alice is trying to get over an ugly breakup, and Tatiana is doing bad deeds to cheer up Alice. Mike is the only one who feels antagonistic, but even he stops being a jackass by the second half.

“Mike and Dave” isn’t a special comedy due to the formula and some scenes that are more drawn out than a Judd Apatow movie, but it’s still a good date movie or a hangout movie. Check it out!

Grade: B

“Get a Job”

I’m not sure what it is about Miles Teller. He’s been in two of my favorite movies of this decade (the underrated “The Spectacular Now” and the unforgettable “Whiplash”), but then he’s been in some of the decade’s worst (“Fant4stic”). Now, he’s in “Get a Job”, which surprisingly isn’t very empathetic.

Teller plays Will, a recent college graduate who’s stunned when he doesn’t get his dream job after graduation. He lands a corporate videographer position, but isn’t very happy there. We also have his overly successful dad who loses his long-term job (Bryan Cranston), Will’s levelheaded girlfriend Jillian (Anna Kendrick), stoner chemistry teacher Charlie (Nicholas Braun), stock broker Luke (Brandon T. Jackson), and their stalker entrepreneur friend Ethan (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). They all share wacky and ultimately unfunny adventures of achieving success in today’s competitive working world.

I didn’t have terribly high hopes for “Get a Job”, but I wanted to at least relate to it. I’m 24, graduated from school three years ago, and I’ve struggled with finding jobs. I was expecting to root for someone who doesn’t irresponsibly spend their graduation money on a large television, and actually tips at a strip club (Will only goes for free food, not expecting to be judged).

Five minutes into “Get a Job”, I pretty much hated every character. Luke is a cartoonish player, who’s put in unrealistic hazing activities that Jordan Belfort wouldn’t even condone. Ethan wants to design an app that allows him to stalk people after receiving their text and location, and sells it? Ugh…

Cranston’s character begins very likable and levelheaded about working, not tolerating Will’s crap for most of the movie. He then proceeds to look for other jobs by stalking the CEO at his dream company and secures a position? Persistence is appreciated in the job force, but not when you’re risking a restraining order.

Will is an entitled brat that we’re supposed to root for, but would you identify with someone who spitefully posts their boss’s sex tape on a projector at a company party? Someone who answers his phone during an interview, and leaves other potential job offers hanging? How in the hell does he still get these jobs?!

We get some semi-entertaining supporting work from Allison Brie and Jorge Garcia as Will’s colorful coworkers, but they’re mostly caricatures. Kendrick’s Jillian is the most empathetic character, who starts out successful, loses her job, and then decides she’s okay with figuring out what she really wants to do. Too bad she doesn’t get enough screen time!

“Get a Job” was shelved for three years, and released on VOD, which isn’t surprising. It’s more of a cautionary tale on how not to act in the real world than a smart commentary on today’s job market.

Grade: D+