“Hello, I’m Mike Pancake.”
This quote is just one example of how uninspired the screenwriter was at the moment of writing the script for Unfinished Business. Of course he followed it up by making several breakfast references, but none of the jokes were actually funny. It’s a shame because Ken Scott had a stronger cast to work with here than in his previous collaboration with Vince Vaughn, Delivery Man, a film I didn’t really like but that I didn’t dislike either. I’d rather sit through that movie than watch Unfinished Business because this was incredibly dull, the jokes were lame, and the story was completely unfocused and all over the place. Delivery Man is a masterpiece next to Unfinished Business. It seemed like screenwriter Steve Conrad thought about several funny scenes he could include in a movie like having Vince Vaughn run in his wife’s jogging clothes, but he didn’t worry about giving any reasonable explanation for the scene other than having his young daughter confusing her mom’s clothes with his (like if that were a possibility). Actually the entire subplot with Vaughn’s family is unnecessary and shouldn’t have been included because it felt completely out of place. I’ve read some positive reviews and I respect them, but I honestly didn’t find this film funny and thought that it was a waste of a talented cast. My greatest problem was the lazy writing, the forced jokes and the unfocused story.
In Vince Vaghn’s latest bromantic comedy he plays Dan Trunkman, a salesman for a big company who decides to quit and start his own small business after discussing with his boss, Chuck Portnoy (Sienna Miller). He offers the rest of his fellow co-workers the opportunity to come work with him and the only ones who follow him are Timothy (Tom Wilkinson) and Mike (Dave Franco). The only reason they do is because Timothy has been forced to retire because of his age and Mike was actually interviewing for a position which he didn’t get. Tom immediately invites them to Dunkin Donuts to plan their strategy. A year goes by and the three of them are still having their meetings there, but they are about to close their first important deal. In order to do so they must travel to Germany where they will meet Jim Spinch (James Marsden) and his assistant Bill (Nick Frost) to shake hands and seal the deal. Unfortunately the sale isn’t as closed as they had anticipated because Chuck has been interfering and trying to seal another deal with them. In the meantime, Dan’s kids Paul and Bess (Britton Sear and Ella Anderson), are having trouble in school and his extremely supportive wife, Susan (June Diane Raphael) needs his attention. Dan will have to try to balance his family life and his business, but things get extremely wacky in Europe where a sex fetish event is taking place at the same time as a global economic summit.
I honestly have no idea what Dave Franco was thinking when he decided to play this character, but I guess he never considered taking Robert Downey Jr’s advice of never going full retard in a movie. It’s hard to understand what he’s saying at times as he doesn’t speak out much and seems to mumble and make up words. Vaughn is playing the same character he has been playing in his latest comedies and I’m glad he is finally going to be doing something different in the upcoming True Detective series because he needs to try to break out from that tired formula which worked wonders for him in Wedding Crashers, but has gotten old now. Tom Wilkerson is a terrific actor, but his character isn’t funny at all. He plays an old man who is looking forward to getting divorced and having sex for the first time with someone he can love. Not even the reliable Nick Frost is given decent material to work with. The film is only 90 minutes long but you feel every second of them because most of the jokes miss the mark. The film is also incredibly unbalanced being on the one hand an irreverent business road trip and on the other trying to deliver an anti-bullying message which is never actually resolved and ends up being an afterthought.