Its time for something new.
Vince Vaughn is in a rut as an actor. His output over the last decade is a list of generic studio comedies with Vaughn at the centre as a cookie cutter protagonist. Middle class and struggling trying to do the right thing for those around him, even as others get in the way. He is often fierce and his actions are nonsensical but he is always charismatic and likable. The problem with Unfinished Business is that it feels fatigued, a movie that might have fit in with Old School, Super Troopers and the dozen American Pie movies in the early Naughties but just feels lazy in 2015.
Unfinished Business sees Vaughn as a struggling businessman trying to provide for his wife and kids. The kids here are embroiled in bullying for various reasons and while not revolutionary, is nice social commentary and provides some funny and heartwarming moments. Vaughn employees two, Tom Wilkinsons older accomplished but tired Timothy and Dave Franco's Mike Pancake a young simpleton with one thing on his mind. After they are squeezed out of a desperately needed account, the team heads to Berlin to chase success. Hijinks ensue.
Unfinished Business can't get past pedestrian humour. Still engrossed in painting homosexuals as wildly perverted and women as sexual conquests or manipulative shrews, the film has its feet firmly in the past. While the inevitable party montages and Vaughn are enjoyable for their quick edit blink and you’ll miss it and Vaughns standard do or die soapbox bravado is stirring, it's been done to death and will quickly fade into memory to be confused with every other middle of the road Vaughn comedy of the last decade. Between The Watch, Couples Retreat, The Internship and many more Vaughn has failed to develop range or subtlety and is surely due for a resurgence or retirement.
Unfinished Business has its moments, there are several awkward interactions that generate an emotional response, but the effort to get between the positive is tiresome. What is potentially worse is how the film is obsessed with humiliation and sex to derive laughs. From the bullied fat kid to the inexperienced kid giggling at breasts or the older gentleman vocalising perversion in a business setting, it feels like a script written by children. Short of being homophobic, the film treats homosexuality as a contagion and while seemingly accepting is a lesson is stereotyping.
While the film starts slow and could easily have petered out, it actually builds some anticipation and emotional connection and for that im glad. It made the film palatable. But i’m unlikely to watch it a second time willingly and have huge doubts over a project listed on IMDB as "Untitled Vince Vaughn Family Comedy."