Unfinished Business

Movie Information

The Story: A businessman and his two inept partners travel the world trying to seal one huge deal before their company turns to ruin. The Lowdown: Incredibly maudlin, overtly unfunny R-rated comedy with an aimless, unsatisfying plot and zero likable characters.
Genre: Raunchy Comedy
Director: Ken Scott (Delivery Man)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, Nick Frost
Rated: R



There’s a trailer for David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch (1991) that William S. Burroughs himself narrates, discussing — in his signature monotone — how “Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom,” decided to make his book into a film. I often hear Burroughs’ voice in my head saying those exact words when I watch something like Ken Scott’s Unfinished Business. Of course, the reasons for Burroughs’ lament is different for Naked Lunch, a nonlinear, anti-establishment novel about drug abuse, orgies and Mugwump jism, amongst other things. In the case of Unfinished Business, we’re really only talking about yet another Vince Vaughn comedy, one so uninspired I’d rather sit here and talk about a nearly quarter-century-old movie trailer than anything Scott’s movie threw up on film.




The movie is one of those family-style treatises on the dangers of being an overworked dad, with Vaughn playing Dan, our protagonist dad, but with poorly constructed sex jokes. Dan doesn’t spend nearly enough time with his bullied son (Britton Sear) and bullying daughter (Ella Anderson) because he’s desperately trying to get a handshake on the big business deal that will keep his company from shutting down. This might not be as big of a problem if his only employees weren’t a horned-up old codger (Tom Wilkinson) and a slow, incredibly grating weirdo (Dave Franco). But since they are, Dan and his crew are forced to fly from St. Louis to Portland to Berlin, all in an attempt to secure a deal that looks less and less likely of happening.




What this does is send our trio on a trip through a series of comedic set pieces, like the guys going to a German gay sex club and ending up in a room full of glory holes, or Dan wearing women’s workout clothes and being mocked for it. All the while, there’s 90 minutes of Vince Vaughn’s fast-talking wisecracks, like this is still a healthy conceit to build a comedy around. If only we’d known this is what we’d all get for liking Swingers 20 years ago.




There’s a tendency for the film to go for hokey sentimentalism — with all of Dan’s family issues (which are eventually dropped and forgotten about) and his symbolic pursuit of running a marathon, which he finally does in dress shoes and without breaking a sweat after spending the night on a park bench. It’s a movie searching for an emotional resonance it certainly doesn’t deserve, never wanting to put in the work for one. Instead, the great, uplifting, cathartic climax just kind of comes and goes before mercifully putting the movie out of its misery. That the movie eventual has an ending is about its only highlight. Rated R for some strong risqué sexual content/graphic nudity, language and drug use.



Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

8 thoughts on “Unfinished Business

  1. T.rex

    What if you are a fan of Tom Wilkinson? Is it worth seeing for him? I guess he needed a new beach house,

    • Ken Hanke

      I couldn’t say, but my guess is “no.” But if you insist on finding out, I’d act fast. Judging by its box office, the only possible reason it’s playing a second week is that, as a mainstream movie, theaters are stuck with it for a two week minimum.

      • T.rex

        Nah, that’s okay. I will file this under “See at Brew”. Maybe.
        Justin hit the nail on the head, Swingers was great twenty years ago.

  2. DrSerizawa

    I’m still trying to figure out where Vaughn got the identity of “comedian”.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.