Overview: A small business owner and his two employees travel to Europe to close an important business deal. 2015; 20th Century Fox; R; 91 minutes
Unfunny People: Fans of Vince Vaughn and his work will be content with his performance here, as he approaches this role like most of his others. Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco have supporting roles as such comedy stereotypes as the “you only live once” old man and the dumb teenager. Most of the comedy attached to these actors is lazy and idiotic, but some of the jokes hit because of the inherent hilarity of the concept and the actors’ delivery. Sadly enough, James Marsden and Nick Frost are in the film, and their comedic chops are never used other than to crack penis jokes. Surprisingly, the film has a cast packed with talented actors who have proven themselves in this genre before, but they are wasted here.
Not Safe for Work: A lot of crazy things happen in this movie, and that’s part of the reason it doesn’t work. They’re just throwing out ideas, no matter how absurd, to see if anything sticks. Most of the scenes are just set-ups for these jokes, and once the punchline is delivered, they move on as if nothing happened. No real coherency ties it all together; it’s just a string of gags connected by a very a thin plot. The writer’s decision to mix elements of a raunchy vacation movie with a PG family movie is questionable. One scene shows a heart-to-heart father/son chat, and the subsequent one shows Dave Franco’s face getting shoved into a penis. It’s just doesn’t mix well.
Just Business: This film is a joke with a bad set-up. You’re immediately thrown into the main story without having any connection to the characters whatsoever. Then it jumps around without focus, never once going deeper into the characters and their motivations. All you have is Vaughn’s repeated line: “I gotta get the handshake.” And there’s so much going on here. They shoehorn in a family plotline that doesn’t work emotionally as a means to add urgency to the plot. An attempt is even made to add social commentary on gadgetry and cyber-bullying, but it’s spread too thin just like everything else, resulting in a sum of severely underdeveloped parts.
Overall: In an age where so few comedies hit the mark, Unfinished Business misses it by a mile. Audiences are better off doing paperwork than closing this deal.