Unfinished Business (2015)
Unfinished Business stars Vaughn as Daniel Trunkman, who quits his job under Chuck Portnoy (Sienna Miller), who as a terrible employer, would have been a good candidate for another recent comedy. Taking with him Timothy McWinters (Tom Wilkinson), who was forced into retirement, and Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), who didn’t actually have a job in the first place, the three attempt to start their own competing venture and promptly crash at a Dunkin’ Donuts.
One year later, Dan manages to hook up a deal with Bill Whilmsley (Nick Frost) and his boss, Jim Spinch (James Marsden), flying out the trio for a handshake to solidify the deal. This is because, as we all know, a physical handshake is much more important than a binding legal contract in the eyes of the law..
When the trio arrive, however, they find that Chuck has also appeared to present a deal, and the closed deal isn’t as closed as Dan once thought. With Spinch working against them and Bill under his bosses’ thumb, the race is on to Europe in order to convince Spinch’s superiors to take their deal over Chuck’s, and save their company from bankruptcy. Except by save their company from bankruptcy, they really mean fly to Berlin and get entangled in sex, drugs, and at the same time deal with the issue of Dan’s son and his super-serious bullying issues.
It outright befuddles the mind, not just why this bullying subplot could possibly take up so much time in Unfinished Business, but why it’s even in the movie in the first place? It feels like two movies have been blended together into one; A raunchy R-rated sex-comedy made for teens to sneak into, and a nauseatingly sentimental family film about a man and his family. It feels like the movie is trying to pat your back with one hand and molest you with the other.
The plot itself hits the ground running at full pace, not stopping to explain anything, or even to provide some connective glue between sequences. It feels like an utterly disjointed train-wreck of little effort, and the feeling is hammered home by the fact that the audio engineers didn’t even bother to balance the audio on scenes taking place outdoors. Not that it really matters, since the characters probably aren’t saying anything important, or even possibly funny.
That is, unless you’re Tom Wilkinson, quite possibly the only saving grace of this movie. He plays the crotchety, dirty old man trope very well and the character of Tim is probably the only part of Unfinished Business that will actually make you laugh. Dave Franco, on the other hand, is an absolute travesty and a sad step down from his previous movies, 21 Jump Street and Neighbors.
Most of the jokes related to his character are about two things: Either his severe lack of intelligence, or laughing because his last name is Pancake, which is quite obviously the most hilarious thing ever heard. Ken Scott and writer Steven Conrad should give themselves a pat on the back for such a creative, innovative, and hilarious joke.
Now, making fun of Mike Pancake as The Ditz in itself would be alright, and in fact is the entire purpose of that character archetype. But all the fun and games immediately comes to a screeching halt when Mike reveals that he lives in a group home with other people like him. And this, dear reader, is the part of the film where the audience realizes that Mike isn’t just dumb, but is actually being portrayed as mentally disabled. This is also the part where multiple audience members walked out of this reviewer’s showing in disgust.
There is a very fine line to be crossed when depicting people who are mentally disabled in film, and Unfinished Business crossed over that line, danced on the line, kicked the dirt around the line and then, finally, pulled down its pants and took a giant flaming crap on that line. For this part of the movie alone, where the audience realizes that this movie is actually making fun of someone for their mental disability, one could truly hate it.
With all the above, there is one last thing to check off on the list of things terribly wrong with this movie, and it’s the lead role himself. Vince Vaughn is cripplingly unfunny, and while he may be the straight man, a good comedy straight man has at least some character attributes aside from solely reacting to everything around him. There isn’t really much to criticize about his character simply because there is no character attributes to criticize, just the lack of character as a whole. This man is not funny, and it’s unclear whether he ever has been.
This movie was a waste of the audience’s time, it’s a failure on both technical, plot and comedic levels, and it’s flat-out insulting. There really is only one thing left to say about Unfinished Business, and it’s that you should leave this business unfinished, for good.