Unfinished Business—The AllMovie Review

★ ½

Comedy fans have grown accustomed to the likeable Vince Vaughn over the past two decades. While never reinventing his comedic persona, his pictures have been a reliable source of quotable lines and memorable performances. After years of providing moviegoers with his predictable but hilariously deadpan delivery, he is a shell of his former self in Unfinished Business. A cringe-worthy supporting cast fail to bail him out in any way, leaving Vaughn too defeated to shine in this lackluster business-trip comedy.

After a tiff at his job over a pay cut, Dan Trunkman (Vaughn) tells his boss Chuck (the underutilized Sienna Miller) that he’s quitting and starting his own rival company. In an effort to rally support, Dan invites everyone in the office to come join him at his new venture. The only two people willing to take that leap of faith are an aging salesman (Tom Wilkinson) and a dumb-as-dirt youth (Dave Franco) who’s interviewing for a job.

The film jumps ahead one year to find that Trunkman’s small business is on the verge of bankruptcy, and he needs to land a lucrative deal to save their skins. Thinking the deal is just about sealed, the three misfits travel to Portland to make it official. Lo and behold, they run into Chuck and her company meeting with the same client, attempting to swoop in and put Trunkman out of business.

What ensues is a “wild” trip to Berlin by both Trunkman’s team and Chuck’s as they rush to meet with the parent company of the client. In reality, viewers get a stock montage of an ecstasy-fueled night, civil unrest at the G8 Summit, and an incident involving a glory hole. All the while, the film is bogged down by Trunkman’s efforts as a family man—he’s a good-hearted dad with two messed-up and bullied young kids. Director Ken Scott can’t choose which movie he really wants to make: a gross-out business-trip romp or a triumphant blue-collar drama. Unfinished Business is an amalgamation of both, with neither story strong enough to take center stage.

The aforementioned supporting cast are really where this movie nose-dives. What a strange role for the accomplished Tom Wilkinson to take—a dirty old man with a penchant for housekeeping maids. The viewer is so caught off guard by his lewd gags that it would be better if he had just disappeared halfway through the film.

The younger Franco brother first appears as a dim-witted but eager young professional, only to slowly devolve into a character with an actual learning disability. He coasts by on the joke that his full name is Mike Pancake (yes, like the breakfast), and is painfully awkward and oblivious with no subtlety or comedic flare.

Hot on the heels of his potentially career-altering role on the second season of True Detective, Vaughn is treading water here. It’s a shame to see the once dominant comedian reduced to a role as safe as this. He’s charming enough that you’ll want to root for him at first, but after being bludgeoned by the lackluster plot involving the “on-again, off-again” business deal, you’ll just be rooting for the credits to roll.