I can understand the logic behind instilling a subtle message in a movie such as portraying the negative side of alcohol and how it can ruin your life or how working hard to be with your family brings everyone closer together. However, this message should not be the main purpose of the movie unless it’s advertised as such. This was the case in Unfinished Business. While advertised as a hilarious business trip where three men try to close a crucial partnership deal to ensure financial stability for all three of their lives, the blatant and repetitive message was vehemently: anti-bullying. There is nothing inherently wrong with an anti-bullying message, but if you’re going to advertise a movie that shows deliberate verbal and physical abuse, tying in that difficult topic is far from easy.
Dan Truckman (Vince Vaughn) is a married, 40-something with two kids who starts his own company in an attempt to prove to his ex-boss that he knows more about people and networking than initially assumed. He then employs a 67-year-old Timothy McWinters (Tom Wilkinson) and a socially and mentally crippled Mike Pancake (Dave Franco). The plot mostly revolves around these three Missourians flying to Portland, Maine to seal a crucial business deal that will decide each of their financial futures. Timothy plans on divorcing his wife because he hates her but hopes to leave her with some money, and Dan wishes to be able to afford private schooling for his son who is relentlessly bullied, not to mention the fact that he also is trying to be a supportive father to his daughter who is a bully all the while trying to reamin a supportive husband to his wife who keeps asking for the money to pay for the private school. The business trip then evolves into a much larger problem upon the discovery of the fact that they must fly to Berlin to actually finish the entire deal. What they then realize is, during the time of their stay in Berlin, it’s also Oktoberfest. So a marathon of sorts is scheduled, and the annual gathering of the German LGBTQ society will be underway, so there are zero hotel rooms available. Timothy and Mike are forced to stay in a youth hostel and Dan agrees to stay in an art museum as part of the exhibit, “American Businessman 42,” which is basically a completely furnished hotel room but with glass walls so people can look in.
During all this commotion, Dan comes to find out that his son got caught stealing eye shadow so he could wear it to fit in with the goth kid crowd at school so people would stop picking on him. He also discovers that his daughter beat-up a small boy at school for making fun of her brother. The sentimentality that was force fed into this movie did not match any kind of description in any movie trailers that were available. Director Ken Scott tried to make a PSA on the dangers of bullying with the access kids have to social media but it was not relevant to anything that was going on in the lives of Dan and his team.
The most disappointing part of this film is the fact that it had a killer cast but was ultimately disappointingly unfunny. I was hoping for the return of the classic Vince Vaughn and the potential of some great comedy bits but all that really happened were a few giggles that arose from some graphic nudity and the the nervous, stuttering rambles of Mike Pancake.