Vince Vaughn’s mystique fell short in the lackluster comedy, “Unfinished Business.” When this paper invited me to write a movie review, I was excited to learn that it was for this new movie from Vince Vaughn, in theatres this weekend. Just think of all the great movies he has given us over the years, since we were young. Vince Vaughn has proven again and again that he is funny and cool. At his best, Vaughn plays the straight man, an Everyman, surrounded by seriously flawed, crazy people and situations – such as Wedding Crashers with Owen Wilson, Be Cool with John Travolta, and Dodgeball with Ben Stiller. Vince always keeps his cool, handling himself in the way we wish we would be cool enough to do if we were in a similar situation, which is why we love him in these movies.
I was ready to meet some new memorable characters when I went to see “Unfinished Business,” and to learn the new lines that would no doubt become memes and part of the college humor playbook from this point on. This movie has Dave Franco (Neighbors, Now You See Me), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End), and Sienna Miller (nominated for her role in American Sniper) – so this clearly should be a winning combination. Every one of these actors is great and lovable.
Sadly, the material in this movie did not live up to the potential of this release. Far from it! The studio did fine to get all of these actors together and this should have been a home run. The writers, however, supplied material that wasn’t up to par. Not even close. At best, this movie is bland. The set up is right for success: Vince Vaughn is the straight man, an Everyman, a small business owner who is trying to win an important deal so he can stay in business. But he is never really put into improbable situations and his co-stars are also playing straight men. Each character seems to have a strong moral compass and avoids dangerous behavior. Where’s the fun in that? A handful of people who attended the film in the nearly empty theatre when I was there on opening night, laughed loudly during the first ten minutes of the show but after that they were silent.
The story of “Unfinished Business” is simple enough and the cast seems to strive valiantly to remain politically correct throughout, with the moral of the story being that good guys CAN win in life and in business. The characters are likable, wholesome and ordinary. It should appeal to a broad audience, as America runs on independently run small businesses, so the subject matter should be relatable. Unfortunately there are no outrageous characters that could make this film a memorable one. Just think of all the wonderful wacky characters from other movies in this genre: Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, Costa in Project X, McLovin in Super Bad, to name a few. “Unfinished Business” is a missed opportunity for the studio.
In “Unfinished Business” there are plenty of lewd scenes. If you like to see naked breasts and flaccid penises, then you won’t be disappointed. The makers of the movie tried hard to inject shocking scenes throughout the film. Somehow none of these scenes seem to fit the characters or the politically correct story that the filmmakers are telling. The comedic scenes seemed entirely out of place and they made the audience feel uncomfortable and unamused. Cheap shots at special needs humor only added to the bizarre and uncomfortable experience. A running gag throughout is that the Dave Franco character has special needs and his last name is Pancake. Despite too many tries, the joke is never funny. I really wanted to like this movie and there is definitely a place for raunchy college humor, but “Unfinished Business” falls flat.
Five out of five popcorn bags is the highest praise achievable for film reviews. One popcorn bag means that there were a few redeeming qualities. As far as “Unfinished Business” goes, the popcorn machine is broken and will seek repairs eventually.