Sunday, March 8, 2015

Review: Unfinished Business

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
I can only assume the title here is referring to the jokes that appear to be missing from the film. "Unfinished Business" is a comedy, so I'm told, but it's one that barely provokes a smile, much less a laugh. Vince Vaughn is a funny guy, so it's a shame to see him saddled with such a poor vehicle for his talents. Hopefully, his turn in this year's second season of "True Detective" will help to make it easier to forget this misfire.

In the film, Vaughn plays a businessman who confronts his cutthroat boss (Sienna Miller) during the opening sequence and storms out to create his own business, a la "Jerry Maguirre." But rather picking up a fellow employee and love interest, he nabs Tom Wilkinson's Timothy, who has been fired due to his age, and Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), who failed to impress during a job interview with Vaughn's company, most likely because he comes off as partially insane. Also, the repetition of Mike's last name is apparently meant to be a joke, which breaks Roger Ebert's First Law of Funny Names (look it up).

A year after forming their own company, the trio travel first to Maine and then to Germany to close a deal with a smarmy executive (James Marsden) and find themselves, not surprisingly, in direct competition with the company they all previously fled.

Meanwhile, Vaughn's family is seemingly falling to pieces in his absence. His son is being teased due to his weight and his daughter is having problems of her own. One of the script's biggest failings is its cross-cutting between the raunchy antics of Vaughn and his cohorts (a glory hole sequence, two drunk men slapping each other and a scene in a nude sauna) and the sappy scenes in which Vaughn attempts to deal with family issues. The problem is the raunchy scenes are not particularly funny and the dramatic ones are not persuasive.

In the film, Vaughn plays a variation of his basically decent guy in a midlife crisis, while Franco's character seems to be the Man Who Fell to Earth. Wilkinson, a great actor, is forced to play the dirty old man character and the best the script's writers appear to have been able to come up with for him is a role-playing scene with a maid that is more awkward than funny.

There are talented people involved in this film and my hope is they will move on to better things. "Unfinished Business" is an early contender for being one of the year's worst.

No comments:

Post a Comment