There are certain people for whom I am in the bag, actors and filmmakers whose flawed work I often overlook or can’t even recognize because of a strange fondness I have for them. They include Aaron Sorkin (to an extent), Cameron Crowe, and inexplicably, Vince Vaughn. I cannot be trusted when it comes to these people, as my review for Vince Vaughn’s The Internship clearly attest. I am an honest person, so when I feel an affection for a film, I admit it, no matter how much shame that might bring upon me. That unfortunately meant admitting that I liked The Internship in writing, to the public, because when it comes to Vince Vaughn, I am wrong in the head. There are people that might have watched that movie because of me, and for that, I am deeply, profoundly sorry. I don’t know understand it. There’s something in the patter, the way that Vince Vaughn speaks, that I find intoxicating. When he’s rattling off dialogue, I get lost in the words and get caught up in the rhythm of them.
Given my (unexplainable) level of affection for Vaughn, however, you can trust me when I say this: Unfinished Business is a pile of dessicated shit. It is a fetid, rotting carcass at the bottom of a mass graveyard. Unfinished Business is where laughter goes to die, where the maggots of humor slowly eat the flesh away until there is nothing left but the husk of bones and entrails so putrid that even the corpse-eating insects reject them. It is an gangrenous, pus-filled boil on the furry, incised taint of comedy.
Vince Vaughn plays Dan Trunkman, a swarf salesman who quits his job to start his own swarf-selling company with another employee, Timothy McWinters (Tom Wilkinson) — laid off because he’s too old — and Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), an insecure guy from a group home with learning disabilities. The entire goddamn movie is about sealing one deal before Trunkman’s old boss, Sienna Miller’s Chuck Portnoy, steals it away from them.
Sealing that deal entails flying from St. Louis to Portland, Maine (oh, why must you befoul my fair town with this ass-cheese?) to Hamburg, Germany, where — along the way — the trio get involved in various shenanigans. Said shenanigans include Mike attempting to lose his virginity, Timothy ordering a sex maid, and Dan stripping down and trying to iron out a deal in a sauna full of naked people while Mike Pancake drools over “boobies.”
Vince Vaughn is on the record as saying that The Internship failed, in his estimation, because the movie wasn’t allowed to be Rated R. Unfinished Business is Rated R. There are lots of boobs. There’s a shitton of profanity. At one point, a woman tries to wheelbarrow Mike because Mike is dumb and doesn’t understand how the wheelbarrow is supposed to work. Hell, there’s an entire glory-hole sequence in which Mike shakes hands with a penis, and a character played by poor sodding Nick Frost has an conversation while his giant schlong hangs flaccid through a hole in a bathroom stall.
None of that makes Unfinished Business funny. An NC-17 rating wouldn’t have made Unfinished Business funny. An explicit orgy scene with clowns juggling their own balls wouldn’t have made it funny. There is not a moment in the entire fucking film that even hints that it has the potential to be funny. It’s a goddamn disaster. The plot is shit, the resolution is about as satisfying as earlingus, and the character motivations are dumber than a box of Paris Hilton’s hair: Timothy wants to the deal to go through so he can divorce his cruel wife and make love to a woman, while Dan needs it so he can afford to send his fat kid to private school so he won’t be bullied anymore.
That Vince Vaughn patter? It’s gone. Vaughn’s soul has been sucked out and replaced with butterscotch pudding. I don’t even know what the fuck Dave Franco is doing in this movie — he’s best at playing cocky douchebags, and here he’s playing a meager, mousy special needs kid; and Tom Wilkinson? He has two Oscar nominations, and he’s playing a over-the-hill sap trying to get laid in Porky’s 15: Suburban Corporate Drones Eat A Dick.
Unfinished Business is so bad that it’s soured me on season two of True Detective. I can’t even look at Vince Vaughn anymore, because I have seen into his dead eyes, and all they are saying is “Help me, please. Look at what I have been reduced to! I was in Swingers, goddamnit, and now I’m having conversations with literal dicks hanging from a wall.”
Where did it all go wrong?