Unfinished Business (2015) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for some strong risqué sexual content/graphic nudity, and for language and drug use
Running Time: 91 min.
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, June Diane Raphael, Nick Frost, Britton Sear, Ella Anderson
Director: Ken Scott
Screenplay: Steve Conrad
Review published March 7, 2015
For many who make the attempt to watch Unfinished Business, it might as well be titled Unfinished Movie, as a good percentage will no doubt stop watching it before getting to the end credits. The biggest question in a film that raises so many as to why it was ever green-lit is how many terrible comedies Vince Vaughn (The Internship, The Watch) is allowed to lead before audiences begin to tire of seeing him try without success to resuscitate life out of a script that has nothing funny written within.
The film starts with Dan Trunkman (Vaughn) telling off his supervisor, Chuck (Miller, American Sniper), that he's not going to continue to play ball in a company that gives raises to the top dogs and gives salary cuts and layoffs to those on the bottom. He aims to start his own company (we're supposed to laugh that Dan calls it a "starship" instead of a start-up, and he enlists the services of forced retiree Timothy McWinters (Wilkinson, Selma) and daft, unemployed Mike Pancake (Franco, Neighbors -- we're also supposed to laugh hearing his last name) to help get it off the ground.
The start-up has more than enough trouble in its first year without having to worry about Dan's former boss trying to drive a stake in its heart by stealing away the one big deal that's within their grasp. Forced into a do-or-die situation, the trio must travel to Berlin to fight for closure, but end up with many detours along the way, including sex maids, ecstasy-fueled nights at the disco, and a gay fetish convention. Meanwhile, subplots involving Dan's kids being bullied in school undermine whatever meager ability we have to laugh with ersatz emotional content that is most unwelcome when juxtaposed with dick-and-titty shots galore.
This is Vaughn's second collaboration with director Ken Scott, after Delivery Man, and now they are both 0-and-2 for their efforts. It's as unfunny as they come these days, trying to push the envelope of taste into squeezing out a few cheap chuckles, but even slam-dunk sex-tinged premises like glory-holes (a scene as flaccid as the penises represented) and the sex industry in Europe can't generate any guffaws when all we get are mentions of them without anything fun, interesting or witty to coincide with their inclusion. Tom Wilkinson's talents are utterly wasted (the fact that his character gets 'wasted' on a number of occasions only reminds you of this fact), while Dave Franco's character is supposed to provide comedy through his stupidity, but it's hard to laugh when the screenwriting is even more dumb than he is.
Like the glass-walled mock hotel room that Dan stays in while in Germany, a life-sized diorama called "American Businessman 42", Vaughn's schtick at this point in his career is certainly antiquated enough to belong in a museum exhibit, and like those who do go to museums, it's unlikely to hold the attention for more than a minute or two before we become more interested in seeing what else there is to see elsewhere. Without characters we care about, a plot we don't even care to try to grasp, and jokes that repeatedly and consistently fail to land, this un-amusing comedy emerges as one of the biggest waste of 90 minutes to hit theaters in 2015. There's not much funny business to be found in Unfinished Business.
©2015 Vince Leo