‘Unfinished Business’ is bankrupt of joy

By Jacob Pierce, Daily Egyptian

Vince Vaughn is almost at an Adam Sandler level of career stagnation. The actor has not made a critically successful film since “Into the Wild” in 2007. Vaughn has never been known for an extensive acting ability, but since then he has played the same character and done the same movie repeatedly. 

Anytime Vaughn is in a new film, it is a hopeless opportunity at his former glory. Those who found him funny before hope his next film is the one to rejuvenate his career.

“Unfinished Business” (Rated R; 90 mins) directed by Ken Scott, is not a jumpstart to his career—it is just another joyless endeavor.

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Dan Trunkman, played by Vaughn, quits his salesman job after being told a pay cut was on its way. He decides to start his own company with two other unemployed workers, played by Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson. Three years later, the company is on its last leg. Their last chance comes in the form of a business deal in Amsterdam.

The gang realizes the deal is not as concrete as they thought when Trunkman’s former boss, Chuck Portnoy, shows up. Portnoy, played by Sienna Miller, starts a business war the group cannot afford to lose. The two businesses compete to get a coveted contract and prove which is superior.

This becomes difficult when Trunkman’s group starts to get caught up in the nightlife of Amsterdam. They see their lives may not be what they want. Then they start on a path to make their company the type of organization they want, instead of what the business world wants. 

Previews for the film looked like it may be Vaughn’s first good one in a while. 

Each trailer for his next film misleads people into thinking this will be the one to bring his empire back up, this one will be like “Wedding Crashers.” This trailer shows the actor in we all fell in love with, but performances are not always as great as they seem.  

The film’s first problem and the cause of Vaughn’s slump lies in his inability to play anyone different. He has not played a new role in seven years. Each film he does could be looked at as a continuation of the last one, if not for different character names.

He is the king of the slobs. The kind of guy who is not exactly ugly, but also not in the best shape. He is relatable and charismatic all at the same time. This shtick has gotten a little old—especially his version. Some actors can play the same role for their entire career, Vaughn unfortunately is not one of those actors. One can only hope he pulls a Matthew McConaughey and shows everyone his true acting prowess at some point.

You notice how the plot description above makes it seem like nothing happened in this movie? This is not because I decided to purposely omit important events. Nothing happens in “Unfinished Business.” To even say it has a plot, is an insult to the entire idea of a plot and a moving story.

The movie just throws a bunch of crazy ideas out there and calls it a story. Nothing really happens that furthers the plot, or even adds relevant humor to the movie. It brings up situations because of logic such as, “You know what would be funny? If this old guy smoked a bong.” The filmmakers try to justify it with convoluted character motivations, but nothing feels genuine.

The movie is incredibly close to being average. This obviously is not much of an endorsement, but an average film is better on the eyes than an awful one. What almost brings it to this level is the acting ability of Nick Frost, Franco and Wilkinson.

Franco and Frost are natural-born comedians. Franco is known for work like “21 Jump Street” and “Neighbors.” He does not star in either, but excels and steals scenes in both. Frost, of course, is the Costello to Simon Pegg’s Abbott, and he brings all of his talent into a miniature role. And Wilkinson is an elite actor. You put him in anything, and he will give a classic performance.

“Unfinished Business” commits the cardinal movie sin of boring the audience. Moviegoers, and even some more forgiving critics, can get past most flaws if a movie entertains. If anyone can reach Vaughn and convince him to be good again, please for the love of God get on it.

Stars: 1.5 out of 5. 

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