Synopsis: A hard-working small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every imaginable – and unimaginable – way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit.
Release Date: March 6, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Rarely is there a more appropriate title for a film than Unfinished Business, the latest Vince Vaughn (Delivery Man) comedy. Unfinished Business is 90 minutes of meandering plot that ultimately goes nowhere, cluttered with characters who are impossible to care about, with a tone so misguided it’s actually one of the only laughable things about the movie. In case it wasn’t evident from that intro, Unfinished Business is not worth your time.
The premise, which involves Vince Vaughn’s character, Dan Trunkman, trying to close a major deal and save his three-person business is fine on its own. There’s obviously a big competitor in Trunkman’s way, and of course he has some history with that company, but by and large the nuts and bolts are serviceable. Similarly, the stress of the situation and the last minute setting change to Germany help play up the potential for debauchery, and Unfinished Business goes for it where an R-rated movie is concerned. Pointless nudity? Check. Immature toilet humor? Check. Awkwardly placed physical comedy? Check.
It’s only when you go scene-by-scene and unpack Unfinished Business that it starts to become a mess. For starters, there’s Trunkman’s two employees, Tim (Selma‘s Tom Wilkinson) and Mike (Neighbors‘ Dave Franco). Tim is an older employee who, for some strange reason, has an obsession with sex, while Mike is portrayed as this imbecile who is incapable of grasping basic instructions. Not only that, the film flirts dangerously close to the idea that Mike is dumb because he’s mentally handicapped, which in itself is emblematic of Unfinished Businessâ major problems.
It appears that no one involved with the film seemed to stop and ask whether any of its plot points or characters might be offensive, not to mention interesting. The filmmakers and screenwriters simply slapped together a series of scenes that they must have found funny, sprinkled them with some thinly veiled attempts at heart, and then shipped it out to theaters. Speaking of those empathetic plot points, there’s a really bad side story about Trunkman’s kids being bullied that feels ripped from a completely different movie. My guess is that storyline was added because the debauchery was too overbearing, but adding those heartfelt family moments doesn’t change that. It actually makes it worse, and makes the film feel even more haphazard.
Even Vince Vaughn fans will likely come away from Unfinished Business unhappy because the film fails to use his talents effectively. In large parts, Vaughn is stuck playing the straight man to Wilkinson’s old horndog and Franco’s idiot. He’s barely funny and hardly likeable – he just kind of exists in this terrible movie.
R-rated comedies have fast become the cheap studio play for a few million dollars and a decent box office weekend. Unfinished Business is proof that it takes more than a little juvenile humor and some pointlessly “different” characters to make an enjoyable comedy for adults. From the story to the writing to the comedy to the tone, there is not a single element of the film that was properly cared for or developed with entertainment in mind. It’s a bunch of scenes that ultimately go nowhere, guided by characters that you can’t stand. Even if Unfinished Business was “finished,” it probably would not be worth seeing.
In case it wasn’t already evident, Unfinished Business is not a good comedy. It’s neither funny nor smart, and what jokes it does have register somewhere between an embarrassed head-shake and an unexpected chuckle. Franco’s buffoon can occasionally make you smile, but only on a surface level. Once you think about how the script is actually making fun of a mentally handicapped individual, there’s a switch from likeable to offensive. Wilkinson’s Tim comes out a little better, but his placement in the story is another shameless comedic play. He doesn’t add anything to the actual core of the story–his and Franco’s characters are just there for show.
If humor based around pointless nudity is your thing then maybe Unfinished Business will work for you. The gross-out scenes may generate some big laughs for the viewer, but they are a cheap play from a cheap movie that does not deserve a recommendation. You may not leave Unfinished Business having not laughed at all, but there’s no question you’ll leave the theater dissatisfied.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Ken Scott
- Screenwriter(s): Steve Conrad
- Cast: Vince Vaughn (Dan Trunkman)Tom Wilkinson (Timothy McWinters)Dave Franco (Mike Pancake) Sienna Miller (Chuck Portnoy)
- Cinematographer: Oliver Stapleton
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Alex Wurman
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA