In this hilarious drink-like-a-fish-out-of-water comedy, Vince Vaughn stars as a hard-working entrepreneur who travels to Europe with his two associates (Dave Franco, Tom Wilkinson) to close the most important business deal of their lives. But the journey quickly spins out of control as the hapless trio encounters all kinds of crazy obstacles, including Oktoberfest bar brawls, hotel foul-ups, foreign GPS directions, and a global fetish festival. In the end, these guys gone wild might just land the deal...if they can survive the trip. Bottoms up!
"That was fast."
"There's an app!"
I've often wondered why some movies with big name stars get dumped on video without anything resembling a notable theatrical release. 'Wild Card' is a recent example of a decently entertaining movie featuring the martial arts prowess of Jasan Statham that had a budget north of $30 million, and yet was only released into a handful of theaters before being banished to the home video market. One would have thought that Statham's name alone was good enough to draw in enough ticket sales to make up the budget shortfall. Then you have a comedy like 'Unfinished Business' staring Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco, and Tom Wilkinson that was dropped in over 2,000 theaters without any marketing buildup, bombed with critics and audiences, and was then unleashed on Blu-ray. For a comedy that is so inept, it really makes me wonder who calls the shots as to which movie gets theatrical releases and which movies are shuffled off to the dust heap.
Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) is a metals and minerals salesmen who just quit his job after his boss Chuck (Sienna Miller) told him he'd be earning 5% less on commissions, even after having the best year of his career. With fellow coworker Tim (Tom Wilkinson) and new recruit Mike Pancake (Dave Franco) the men head off into the sunset to start their own company. One year later and things aren't much better than when Dan quit his job. Since sales for the metals and mineral salvage industry has been down, Dan has had quite a bit of trouble putting together deals. That's about to change as a huge deal is just a handshake away. All Dan, Tim, and Mike have to do is fly up to Seattle for a little meet and greet and the deal is done.
Getting this deal done is Dan's last big hope. As he's been trying to set things up for his new business venture, he's unfortunately sacrificed a lot of needed family time. He's promised to send his young daughter to an upscale private school - which he can't afford. At the same time his teenage overweight son is taking the brunt of some of the worst bullying imaginable. Unfortunately, Dan simply doesn't have the time or ability to handle these matters as well as he could. When Dan arrives at his Seattle hotel, he's more than a little shocked to see his old boss Chuck. It turns out that the guys he was supposed to meet for the formal handshake Bill Whilmsley (Nick Frost) and Jim Spinch (James Marsden) are still fielding other offers.
When the deal should already be signed and done, Dan now has to fly to Germany along with his crew to woo these guys and their international partners. What should have been a simple business trip goes awry as Dan, Tim, and Mike get caught up in any number of crazy international encounters including Oktoberfest shenanigans, female escorts who look like hotel maids, as well as a massive fetishist festival - which Tim is all too keen on partaking in. Dan has to do everything he can to not only keep his guys in line and focused on the company's goals, but he has to seal the deal, and help his family with their mounting troubles.
On paper the hijinks that happen throughout 'Unfinished Business' should have provided ample setups for some good laughs - only something happened, and virtually nothing in this movie turned out to be genuinely funny. The major failing of this movie is that when the setup for a joke doesn't land as intended the movie then falls back on Vince Vaughn's knack for stream of consciousness comedy. This is to be expected; going on motormouth random rants is what the guy does best. However, in this movie they feel desperate and they happen virtually every five minutes to the point that they stop being funny and just become exhausting.
Tone is also a big issue. This movie bills itself as some sort of bawdy comedy about men on a business trip but in actuality it has a lot more serious dramatic undertones working against it. Not only does Dan have troubles at home, that are serious enough to warrant their own movie, but Tim has a need for sexual experimentation since his wife is older and not curious, and apparently young Mike falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. Really - all of these character beats don't make for the best setup for a comedy. It's like this movie is trying to wear bigger shoes than it can fit in.
This movie is basically a parade of awkwardness as it moves from one uncomfortable setup to the next. When an entire five minutes of a 90 minute movie is spent looking at and pointing at and making jokes at Vince Vaughn's disturbingly tight running tights and the lack of pronounced male genitalia, it becomes frighteningly clear why and how this movie failed to make much of an impression with critics or audiences. And the rest of the movie is just that level of awkward repeated over and over again, with Vaughn doing his motormouth shtick to fill in gaps. 'Unfinished Business' stops being funny really quickly and just becomes exhausting.
I was actually excited to see a lecherous Tom Wilkinson since the man has very little comedy output, but I don't think this was the right fit for the actor. Dave Franco just feels like he's trying to be his older brother than actually be a convincing character and the normally pleasing Sienna Miller is basically there to play the bitchy career woman cliche - which is a sad setup for a movie since in a real world scenario, her character wouldn't be the bad guy (or gal). Nick Frost gets a moment or two here and there, but he's regulated to being such a side character it's easy to forget he's even in the film at all.
Usually when I don't like a movie I tend to try and figure out what could be changed to make it better, as if there were a way to go back in time and set the ship right before it collided with the iceberg. For 'Unfinished Business' there is just so much bad about it that an exercise like that would have been futile. I just didn't like this movie. It made me tired and irritated, and more than once I had to pause the movie to get a cup of coffee and will myself to finish it. For better Vince Vaughn outings, stick to 'Wedding Crashers' or 'Old School,' those movies are at least genuinely funny for what they are.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Unfinished Business' arrives on Blu-ray thanks to 20th Century Fox and pressed on a Region A locked BD50 disc. The disc opens through previews for other Fox releases before arriving at the main menu. Included with the disc is a Digital HD Ultraviolet code.
'Unfinished Business' makes for a very pleasing Blu-ray debut wit this 2.40:1 1080p presentation. Colors have a fall-like tinge to them as ambers and rustic reds take center point for much of the film. Flesh tones are balanced and natural feeling without dipping too pink or too pale. Black levels are all around very strong and provide a nice sense of dimensional depth. Detail levels are rock solid, you can easily make out facial features or stitches in clothing. Thankfully given some of the scenes, banding isn't an issue - this is great because a lot of characters wear clothing with complicated patterns. All around a rock solid HD presentation.
'Unfinished Business' earns solid marks over all for its serviceable DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio tracks. As a dialogue heavy film, most of the action keeps to the center channels where the surrounds are used for background noise and atmospherics. Most of the film is relatively uneventful in this department until the guys reach Germany and the majority of their antics involve busier crowd-filled scenes and then the imaging makes great use of the side and rear channels. Levels are kept pretty even as much of the film is relatively quiet. Even when the noise kicks up there isn't much of a spike ensuring things keep in the midranges. All around a decent audio track that gets the job done.
Deleted and Alternate Scenes: (HD 30:59) When you have an entire half hour of cut material it starts to show how this movie was struggling to come together.
Show Me Your Business: Making Unfinished Business: (HD 5:54) Run of the mill EPK style stuff that was just slapped together.
It's really hard to watch a movie that struggles to be funny, but somehow still fails at virtually every setup. I earnestly try to enjoy most movies I see, but 'Unfinished Business' was a real slog to get through. I'll admit there were a couple jokes that landed, but they were so few and far between that the movie just wasn't worth the time. I wanted this to be fun. The Blu-ray rocks the A/V quality but only offers a scant few extras. My call is to skip it entirely but if you're curious I strongly encourage a rental over a blind buy.