unifinished_a

No matter how hard the movies try, you just can’t make business entertaining.

Unfinished Business the new comedy from Delivery Man star/director duo Vince Vaughn and Ken Scott opens in wide release this Friday. Its mix of genre, comedy and (strangely) business how-to never comes together and resulst in the worst film of Vaughn’s career.

Dan Trunkman is unhappy with a paycut at his current mineral sales firm and leaves in order to start his own competing company. To round out his staff he brings Tim (Tom Wilkinson), a 67-year-old former colleague who was let go due to a mandatory retirement age and Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), a kid who was just there on a failed interview.

A year later, Dan’s firm is still operating out of a Dunkin’ Donuts, but is poised to break out by closing a big deal that Dave believes is only a handshake away.  He takes Tim and Mike with him on a trip to Portland, Maine to seal the deal but when they arrive they find Dave’s former boss (Sienna Miller), is also there and they still have competition for the deal.

When neither party is able to close, Dan takes his employees with him to Berlin in a Hail Mary attempt to close the big deal and save his fledgling company.

What’s essentially the premise for a wild fish-out-of-water tale about the underdog going to great lengths in a strange land to prove themselves never delivers on its promise. Instead it spends an inordinate amount of time talking about sales strategy. Seriously. There are more lines in the film about Powerpoint than there are actual jokes. Dan’s obsessed with the thing to the point of mundanity. Yes, that’s how the business world functions, but it doesn’t make for much of a film.

Beyond the drudgery of the way the film tells its story is an oddly placed B-Story involving Dan’s family. A third of the film is spent on his home life, dealing with his son’s body and image issues, his daughter’s becoming a bully and debating private school with his wife. None of it is particularly interesting and plays out like an episode of “Parenthood”. The storyline just has no place in a comedy like this. It’s intent is to establish pathos, but really just provides an unnecessary distraction from what should have been a solid comedy plot, dragging the film down even further.

And that’s really tough because it’s essentially starting at the bottom. What humor there is comes in the form of inane vulgarity and offensive humor (Mike has a developmental disorder and that’s played for laughs) – and none of it does much to elicit laughs of hilarity – instead of discomfort.

It’s simply hard to see what the aim was for this movie. Its tone is all over the place. It wants to function as a sort of dramedy, but can’t get away from its desire to be an outrageous comedy. One momen, Dave is having a deep heart-to-heart with his kid about what it means to be unique and the next minute he’s drinking Beer Steins with hostel-dwellers.

The film is just a mess. It never decides what it wants to be and it fails at everything it tries to be. When the most interesting and funny thing in the movie is that a character has the last name “Pancake”, you know you’re in for a world of hurt.

And that’s really all this film delivers.