“Unfinished Business” is not for a person whose pallet rejects pumped artificial butter or Buncha Crunch. It is the type of movie my brother and I went to on Tuesday mornings during our childhood summers — a mindless comedy perfect for assuaging childhood summer boredom. The Vince Vaughn flick may not satisfy the stingy film critic whose Sundance standards haven’t seen the inside of any mainstream theater, except for the more artsy California Theater, or maybe the Elmwood theater.
We all know the movie category this film fits into. “Unfinished Business” is the type of film with a marquee comedian who decides to accomplish something — rebuild his gym or establish a campus fraternity, for example — gets close to reaching his or her goal, falters in what seems like an insurmountable way while also letting down an entire crew of eclectic homies and, finally, redeems himself while delivering some pretty sweet messages.
“Unfinished Business,” directed by Ken Scott, fits the bill. Vaughn’s character, Dan Trunkman, attempts to lead a cast of recently unemployed characters to the top of the small-business world. Vaughn continually does that beautiful Vince Vaughn-y thing where he gets sort of mad but also makes lighthearted jokes at the same time, reminding the viewer that his character is likable, despite bursts of anger (see: any Vaughn fight scene, from the verbal one with Owen Wilson in “Wedding Crashers” to the outrageously physical ones in the “Anchorman” movies).
In the middle of an intense bicker-fest with his business rival, Chuck, during “Unfinished Business,” Trunkman takes a FaceTime call from his oft-bullied son and assures him that every cool man wears eyeshadow. After the call, Vaughn’s character immediately resumes bitterly insulting his rival, as if the FaceTime had never occurred at all.
Trunkman is given two sidekicks in the form of an older man named Tim, who is fired from Trunkman’s former company for his age, and Mike Pancake, a wannabe intern who is also rejected from Trunkman’s former business, Dynamic Progressive Systems.The three rejects, who are all versions of one another at different chronological points in their lives, decide to start their own business out of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop and eventually chase a business deal all the way to Germany.
Pancake is nothing but a mere caricature and delivers his lines with the same blunt intonation. Pancake stupidly blurts his lines 100 percent of the time, and his character, while hilarious for the first few scenes he participates in because of his oblivious idiocy, becomes tiresome and is only saved by some structured comedic writing.
67-year-old Tim, played by Tom Wilkinson, steals a lot of thunder from the lovable Trunkman, and his contradictions continue to intrigue and amuse. Sometimes, Wilkinson acts in a completely predictable old-man way. Just as you become comfortable in defining who he is as a character, Tim defies all expectations and aggressively rips a bong, an action most would not associate with an older man. Any actor can smoke weed, and credit goes to the writers for placing the rip where they did, but Tim captured the action beautifully, following his exhalation of smoke with just the right eye squint and half-smile.
“Unfinished Business” pales in comparison to some of the other comedies Vaughn stars in. Movies such as “Anchorman,” “Dodgeball,” and “Old School” are all comedic classics, and “Unfinished Business” is, frankly, nothing of the sort. But go see it anyway. Go see it because it is nice to go sit in a theater and have a few cheap laughs while devouring Sour Straws and slurping on one of those polar-bear-brand slushies — the kind that only comes in generic red and blue flavors and runs out of all flavor by the second slurp. More importantly, go see “Unfinished Business” because it is fun, and we can all benefit from a bit more of that.
contact Peter Alexander at pa[email protected]