When a movie is so universally hated, I still have to see it (even if I don't want to) just so I can review it. When Unfinished Business starts, I thought, "Hey, this isn't so bad. It's not good, but it's not as awful as everyone says it is.". But at some point around the 30 minute mark it just got plain awful.
Let's start with the positives, because I think there are somethings I liked that make it worthy enough of a score close to three out of ten. I found the first act kind of charming and funny. It starts off as one of those movies I could enjoy watching it once, but never have reason to watch again or might just forget what even happened in it after a few years. I felt it started nicely, even though the first scene just throws you straight into an argument without any context. For the first third of the movie, I found the characters funny. Vince Vaughn plays the same kind of character he always does, but a little more of a likable family man. He is the only thing in the film I thought stayed consistently good, even though it's a very similar role, as usual.
The family drama he has to deal with while having to be away on business doesn't feel thrown in their, to me, and feels like it fits the main story well enough. After all, the drama revolves around bullies and this is meant to be an underdog story. The reveal of what the daughter did at school that gets her in trouble is handled remarkably well and it is mostly thanks to Vince Vaughn's dialogue and the child actress's performance during his speech that makes the reveal well crafted one with a nice build up/foreshadowing. It's the one scene that really stands out to me.
The homework assignment is a good element to the film, because it gives us narration from Vince Vaughn and allows us to understand what he's feeling and thinking. It's a nice device to allow the audience to get a better understanding of the character.
But at one point in the film, Unfinished Business turned from an alright film to a really, really bad one. it just felt like it dragged on and became unfunny. Most of the humorless two-thirds of the film is due to the secondary characters only having one shtick to work with. Tom Wilkinson's character is a perverted old man and all of his jokes revolve around that. Dave Franco's character is really dumb (legitimately mentally handicapped, in fact) and all the jokes revolve around that. I thought Dave Franco's character is a little more funny, because there is a little more variety on just how dumb he can be, but once they spell out for you he's seriously mentally handicapped, I began to feel guilty about laughing at the character. The jokes just got old and stale and wore out their welcome before the halfway point!
This is also a R-rated comedy that tries to throw in nudity and crude humor just to add it in there. There's no real need for the crude humor and no over all meaning to it. It's just there.
The rival Vince Vaughn is going against is barely in the film and doesn't feel all that threatening like an antagonist should. This is an underdog story, a story where a little company goes against a bigger one. It needs a great rival to make the small company's win all the more meaningful and inspirational, but there is not enough of the rival. It feels as though there isn't any real accomplishment by the end of the film.
Unfinished Business for me started out okay, but just got worse and worse as the movie dragged on. I can see why people hate it and without a doubt I dislike this film. But the first act was okay for me and I do like some of the elements within the film. But it's not even a successful or inspiring underdog story.