Friday, 6 March 2015

Review: Unfinished Business

World of Blackout Film Review

Unfinished Business Poster

Unfinished Business
Cert: 15 / 91 mins / Dir. Ken Scott / Trailer
WoB Rating: 2/7

Sometimes, your Friday morning is so grinding that even a Vince Vaughn comedy can't really make things worse*1. Despite five hours of admin-purgatory, today turned out not to be one of those. Go figure.

I'll try to keep things brief, as I've already spent far too great a percentage of my life on this movie. Unfinished Business is like a comedy Jim Carrey would have made circa 1998, and it would have been a fairly perfunctory comedy even for him. Jim Carrey is a leading actor. Vince Vaughn is not. He is, at best, a co-leading actor. Unfinished Business does not give Vaughn the support he needs.

Unfinished Business isn't even a 'first-draft' of a comedy. It's a very loose treatment of one with some knob-jokes thrown at it. Vaughn's everyman hero Dan has neither the charisma nor character development to be the focus of the screenplay's attention. Tom Wilkinson, Nick Frost and Sienna Miller look at times like they genuinely have no idea what they've signed up for (worse in Wilkinson't case since he gets a lot of embarrassing screen-time). And James Franco's less-charming brother Dave plays The Comedy Idiot™, a role which is already skating repeatedly on thin ice until he reveals in the second-act that he actually has a diagnosed learning disability, and lives in a care-centre supporting other residential patients. I think this part was meant to make give the character depth and make him seem more sympathetic. So you can imagine my surprise when twenty minutes later the audience are presented - for comedic value - with a mentally disabled young man getting a dart thrown into him and apparently being too stupid to feel any physical pain. It's hilarious because he's stupid, do you see?

It's not that Steven Conrad's screenplay is always wilfully insensitive, but it is always just a device to haphazardly link a series of setpieces which feel like they've been drafted out of other scripts. The mechanics of the plot itself make little-to-no sense, and director Ken Scott hopes you've turned up for the jokes. Bizarrely, there is a moment of what appears to be actual sincerity toward the end of the film, but by that point it's too little too late, and a bland adventure-com is wrapped up in a delightfully bland manner.

As it stands, every minute of the film's run-time decreases the value of the CVs of its stars. With stronger casting and serious redevelopment, Unfinished Business could have been a quite mediocre comedy. Oh, that it had had that much ambition…

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
It. Is. Not.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
It's one of those films you'll see for £3 in Asda and still think twice about, since actually buying the film would imply that you're going to want to watch it more than once.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
…serve as a vehicle for Vince Vaughn reminding people he's still appearing in films? Yep.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard..

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Tom Wilkinson starred in 2005's Batman Begins, as did Qui-Gon Jinn himself, Liam Neeson.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 In the interests of balance, I don't hate Vince Vaughn as my default setting. He starred in The Internship, which I enjoyed and everyone else despised. So y'know, #balance.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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