The last time that I traveled that was related for business and not pleasure, it was for a job interview that I had that required a forty-five minute drive, and I’m sure that barley counts as even I had to chip in for gas. I would love to have a job that would have me travel, but with the use of the Internet and using Skype and email as a way of communications, that ideal is becoming less likely. Both of my parents have had careers that had them flying to different places (my mom twice had to go to Japan while my dad once flew out to Israel).
Like any trip, something will always go wrong. Once my dad had me fax copies of all his business papers when he forgot to pack them. My mom was forced to wear the same business dress for four days when a container of mouthwash spilled in her suitcase. I’ve even spilled orange juice while I was driving to school (on a day I was presenting my class a project). So the idea of doing a comedy about the perils of a business trip has plenty of potential. Too bad Unfinished Business had none of that inspiration.
A determined salesman Dan Trunkman (played by Vince Vaughn) quits his job when he’s given a pay cut that he feels is unjustified by his boss Chuck Portnoy (played by Sienna Miller). He vows to start his own company, hoping that several employees will walk out with him. Only two seem to follow; an older salesman Timothy McWinters (played by Tom Wilkinson) and a quiet but enthusiastic young adult Mike Pancake (played by Dave Franco). Dan decides that the two are all he need to start his own company and vow that they’ll crush their competition.
Two years later, the three are still having their meetings at a Dunkin Donuts where they have made little progress. When it looks like they have finally made the deal of a lifetime (they never explain if their selling or buying…it’s just a deal), they fly to Portland, Maine to seal it with a handshake. Trunkman’s old boss is there however, seeking a similar deal, so this causes our three guys to take another plane to Berlin to meet the boss. While there, they encounter the Berlin Marathon, a gay/leather festival, and a ton of European monstrosities while learning something about self-acceptance.
Vince Vaughn has just been digging a bigger hole for himself with every movie he has done and Unfinished Business may be his all time worst. Never have I seen a comedy that tries to throw so much at us, yet I cannot think of one (NOT EVEN ONE!) joke that I remember laughing at. The formula here is to show something gross, talking something business, banter, another gross thing, and repeat until the end. I’ve said that they throw in a moral, but it’s moral about standing up to bullies is so out of place in this hard R comedy.
Vince Vaughn was just playing himself, so I’ll move on. Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco are really underused as actors that probably could have brought more improvisation, yet are stuck as the midlife crisis guy and the dumb, naive guy that we’ve seen before. Doing an American story in Europe has a lot of possibility to be hilarious as seen in National Lampoons European Vacation and Eurotrip. Unfinished Business is the cinema equivalent of a bad cold; it’s unpleasant and it feels like it’s going to last forever, but once it’s over, you forget about it.
I’ll give this zero glory holes out of five. There’s not much else to say then it’s not funny. Here’s to hoping that Vince Vaughn can prove himself again on that True Detective show.