IT’S NOT HARD to imagine how Ben Affleck was convinced to sign on to The Accountant. “Hey Benny!” director Gavin O’Connor shouted into the phone, probably. “Gotta real good movie for ya. So this accountant guy, he’s just like Good Will Hunting, but also he’s Batman!”
“I’m in,” grunted Affleck, and voila! Movie magic is made. The problem, though, isn’t that The Accountant is two ill-matched movies smooshed together—it’s actually more like five or six, and none of them are thought-out enough to carry the day.
Let’s start with the movie Anna Kendrick’s in, some sort of romantic comedy. She works at the robotics company that hires Affleck’s mysterious man of numbers to pinpoint a discrepancy in the books. She’s intrigued by his brusqueness, his wicked skills with a magic marker, his superhero bod, his charmingly dented lunch thermos. Soon she’s whisked off on a crazy adventure that involves high-priced art and cold-blooded assassins. This movie peters out after about 20 minutes and Kendrick disappears from the screen altogether.
Then there’s the drab, dry movie J.K. Simmons is in. He’s a US Treasury agent seeking a fellow who’s been photographed with some very dangerous criminals, and also he has a secret from his past, and also he’s the gruff, fatherly mentor to Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s younger, smarter agent, and also he’s blackmailing her, too.
Meanwhile, there’s a Beautiful Mind-type movie happening as well, about a young boy with autism, simultaneous to Affleck’s movie about a ludicrously deadly vigilante math whiz on the run, and also there’s a showdown at a villain’s lair that’s like the end of Road House, and then there’s the annoyingly predictable family drama about two damaged brothers.
None of these movies is particularly good, but to experience them all at once is discombobulating. Whatever numbers game The Accountant is playing, it doesn’t add up.