Business Trip Goes Awry in Vince Vaughn Comedy

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

“Unfinished Business” has a woefully familiar comedic plot that features an hour and a half of overused sexual gags, drug-fueled parties in slow motion, car high jinks involving one smart-mouthed, German-speaking GPS, unimportant and unlikable female characters and an overtold childlike lesson about bullying.

The film is about a hard-working business owner, played by Vince Vaughn, and his two associates, played by Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco, who travel to Europe to potentially close the most important business deal of their lives. However, what started off as a routine business trip ends up taking a turn in the complete opposite direction, going haywire in every imaginable and slightly unimaginable way.

The employees of a startup business rely on a make or break deal with a client from Europe. To close the deal, the three go off to Germany for a business trip.

The squad runs into Dan’s ex-boss Chuck (Sienna Miller) where they learn that their company is actually the “fluffer” company, brought in as a haggling chip so that clients (James Marsden and Nick Frost) can sugar coat their deal with the market leader. Dan (Vaughn) is desperate to win and goes all out to try to win the deal back from Chuck, all so he can afford to send his son to a private school because he is being bullied.

Director Ken Scott displayed little imagination visually and portrayed absolutely no sense of risk. Most audiences will be left unsatisfied, due to the fact that the film is cheap and simple, almost like a poorly produced television commercial.

Although the film is based around a mass of utter chaos, it never really works up enough momentum to get the viewers into the spirit of what is actually going on. The movie unfolds very choppily. Some of the sequences are actually too drawn out, as if Scott did not know where they were actually going, or if he even wanted them in the film.

The film, however, offers up outrageous circumstances that seem to hold viewers' attention, such as a hotel maid that is actually a sex worker, Mike’s (Dave Franco) quest to master a coital position and a negotiation solved amid the glory holes of a gay club.

The screenplay by Steven Conrad tosses around some extremely lame and childish jokes, mostly revolving around sex humor, sometimes repeatedly. Most of the jokes allude to the fact that Franco’s characters last name is Pancake, which is not very comical. The one funny thing about the film was Mike’s serial inability to pronounce words like “imperative” and “exploit,” and even that became tiresome as the film went on.

It’s no surprise that Vaughn signed on to this film, but it’s very questionable why Wilkinson, Franco, Miller, Marsden and Frost did.

Vaughn plays the same persona he’s been playing for years, so it is nothing new or exciting; he plays the all-around good guy with a heart of gold. Wilkinson merely serves to utter extremely foul words in a British accent.

However, the glimmer of comedic light falls upon the stoner filled with witticisms, Franco. There’s just something funny about the infectiously childish grin that is regularly expanded across the actor’s face and his eyes that never seem to fully be open. Franco seemed to be the only actor in the film with good comedic timing and quality acting; he seemed to play someone a little different than who he has played in his previous films.