MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Unfinished Business’ Is An Unfunny Slog


Film: Unfinished Business
Directed by: Ken Scott
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco

Vince Vaughn has been on a comedic decline as of late. The Watch, The Internship, and Delivery Man all opened to lukewarm or negative response. Unfinished Business is another attempt by Vaughn to revitalize his career and return to the R-rated jocular roots. Instead of trying to shock and mine laughs from the audience through raunch, director Ken Scott’s newest is so bored in trying to tell a story that it lulls you to sleep. Even with the help from Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins, Michael Clayton), the wave of earnest messages the film tries to employ gets caught under the berating of unfunny jokes.

When Dan Trunkman (Vaughn), Timothy McWinters (Wilkinson), and Mike Pancake (Neighbors’ Dave Franco) all get laid off from their jobs, they decide to open their own small business firm. One year later, they are broke and about to go shake hands on a job that will save them. Unfortunately, their ex-boss Chuck Portnoy (Sienna Miller) is also there to win the job bid. Now Dan and the gang must go to immense lengths to show their clients a great time so that the company doesn’t go bankrupt.

The weirdest thing about Unfinished Business is its insistence on trying to weave an earnest yarn through the whole story. Akin to when Vaughn and Scott collaborated on Delivery Man, Vaughn’s character struggles with fatherhood amidst his crazy business life. Multiple times on his voyage, his wife (Ass Backwards‘ June Diane Raphael) and kids (Britton Sear & Ella Anderson) call him to air their grievances with home life. In Switzerland, Dan can’t do much about controlling his family and being with them when they need him. The film’s only saving grace is the attempt to carve something thematic and worthwhile outside of the debauchery that takes place.

Even when the debauchery occurs, the immediacy of such events is never there. The gang attends a gay men’s festival while in Europe and come upon crazy drunken times and phallic objects. When Franco’s Mike takes a nosedive into a ‘hairy’ situation, the audience is still kept at arm’s length in terms of execution. The character’s reactions are more lackadaisical than invested, giving the viewer even more reason not to laugh. Wilkinson, a man known for his older and more reserved male roles, gets a time to talk about his sexual fantasies. The conception of watching a weathered actor utter such insanities is funny in itself. But when it’s laid up on the screen, it comes off tiresome.

With a cast comprised of talented supporting players like James Marsden (X-Men), Nick Frost (The World’s End), and Sienna Miller (American Sniper), you would think that things would get a bit more bearable. Frost being shrunken down to the token funny fat guy is sickening as he is more than capable of performing something with more depth. Marsden shows up in less than five scenes while supposedly being a vital part to the story. Goes to show you how much stock is put in certain aspects of the film. Miller even plays a woman named Chuck. Despite having a predominantly male name, her character is continually forced to act like a frat boy while trying to win the job bid. Her bit with Marsden about ejaculating (metaphorically, of course) on each other has the same kick as a leg shaking itself awake after sitting for too long.

After an hour of watching the film, I took off my glasses to rest my eyes and had little interest to put them back on. Alas though, I wanted to see how everything got tied up out of curiosity. As expected, Vaughn’s Dan gets to a place with his family that he feels is right. “What a happy ending,” I thought as the end credits finally rolled.


Review written by Sam Cohen (follow him on Twitter!)

Sam Cohen

Sam Cohen is that guy you can't have a conversation with without bringing up Michael Mann. He is also incapable of separating himself from his teenage angst (looking at you, Yellowcard). Read on as he tries to formulate words about movies!
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